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

Cog Rusty cog.rusty at gmail.com
Thu Sep 6 14:26:01 UTC 2007

On 9/6/07, Gerhard Killesreiter <gerhard at killesreiter.de> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Vivek Puri schrieb:
> > --- Cog Rusty <cog.rusty at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >>> You cant be more wrong ;) take a look at
> I am sure that Karoly knows that there are such modules on drupal.org.
> >>> http://drupal.org/project/smfforum , this is in
> >>> violation of GPL as per this latest discussion.
> >> And
> >>> its hosted on drupal. The module make direct calls
> >> do
> >>> SMF API ( a non-GPL compliant ) product.
> >> At last! Now we are talking. Wouldn't someone have
> >> to challenge the
> >> conformance or the module with a particular  article
> >> of its attached
> >> license to claim such a thing?
> >>
> >> As a side-issue, there is also the question of
> >> "legitimate interest"
> >> of the one who does challenge it. Doesn't the
> >> requirement of
> >> legitimate interest exist in most countries? (IANAL
> >> either).
> >
> > Its not so much as question of challenging it. The
> > fact is that module clearly is in violation of GPL and
> It violates the GPL if one accepts the interpetation of the GPL
> communicated to us by Jeff.
> Given that this interpretation is from the people who distribute the GPL
> is makes a lot of sense to me to stick by that interpretation.

Could Jeff or someone ask them how (an whether) they would go about
challenging the legitimacy of the smf module's challenge legally? I
mean, to which point of its attached license they would try to apply
their interpretation? And then see how reasonable that sounds if
presented in a court? I am not claiming that is a "no-go". I am
claiming that it would make it clearer to ourselves what we are
talking about.

> Of course, their interpretation won't be unbiased. But by chosing the
> GPL as our license we are already party anyway.

We are also party to what the license text says. It is supposed to
give us not only obligations but some protection under the law as

> > still hosted on Drupal. So question is whats Drupal's
> > policy ?
> Indeed.
> > Still continue to say that d.o. is fully
> > compliant or  d.o. doesn't care ?
> As the CVS maintainer I care very much. However, I don't want to act rashly.
> > If we go by your logic then everyone will just use GPL
> > software and release their own modules as proprietary
> > license under the concept of "legitimate interest".
> > After all everyone has "legitimate interest" to not
> > release their own contributions as GPL ;)
> I've never heard of a legal concept "legitimate interest" before...

In short, it means that you can't sue someone for causing damage to
your neighbor's car, only your neighbor can.

> Here's a Stallman quote which elucidates some points of this threat:
> The GNU GPL is not Mr. Nice Guy. It says »no« to some of the things that
> people sometimes want to do. There are users who say that this is a bad
> thing ­ that the GPL »excludes« some proprietary software developers who
> »need to be brought into the free software community.« But
> we are not excluding them from our community; they are choosing not to
> enter. Their decision to make software proprietary is a decision to stay
> out of our community. Being in our community means joining in
> cooperation with us; we cannot »bring them into our community« if they
> don't want to join.
>         Richard Stallman
> I've found it in a commented version of the GPLv2 which can be
> downloaded from:
> http://www.ifross.de/ifross_html/Druckfassung/Die_GPL_kommentiert_und_erklaert.pdf
> It is probably interesting to people participating in this thread. You
> need to learn German first, though. :p
> The whole PDF has 192 pages so it becomes clear that this is not exactly
>  an easygoing license. ;)
> Cheers,
>         Gerhard
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