[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.

Walt Daniels wdlists at optonline.net
Sat Sep 1 12:47:11 UTC 2007

I have always found that when dealing with lawyers the best approach is to
tell them what you are going to do and ask for possible changes that will
get you into the least trouble. Without that approach the answer is always

-----Original Message-----
From: development-bounces at drupal.org [mailto:development-bounces at drupal.org]
On Behalf Of Larry Garfield
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2007 2:54 AM
To: development at drupal.org
Subject: Re: [development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate
the GPL.

On Friday 31 August 2007, Ken Rickard wrote:
> Jeff-
> Two questions, mercifully brief, for all:
> 1) Should we escalate this to the Drupal Association to pull in some 
> lawyerly resources?
> I presume the answer is "no" here, as I hear killes in my head saying 
> "Drupal follows GPL; end of discussion."

That depends what is being asked of the lawyers.  "How can we tweak our
licensing policy" is probably not going to get very far at all, lawyers or
not.  "Would we be breaking the law to host in CVS a module that does X" 
would be a question best asked of a lawyer, and I agree that the DA would
probably be the correct party to ask.  (FSF has lawyers who will give us
answers, as Jeff has found, but they are not exactly an unbiased source.
And I say that as a card-carrying FSF Associate Member.)

> 2)  How does this affect Edison Wong's (and many others') work on 
> Oracle /
> DB2 integration for Drupal core?  Can GPL software invoke data 
> directly from a non-GPL storage system?
> - Ken

IANAL etc., but since the communication with the server is all via SQL,
which is a (nominal) standard, I'd think it would be no more problematic
than Aggregator, which pulls RSS feeds from both GPLed blogs and proprietary
newspaper sites.  

Larry Garfield			AIM: LOLG42
larry at garfieldtech.com		ICQ: 6817012

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of
exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea,
which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to
himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession
of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."  -- Thomas

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