[Mesa-dev] [RFC PATCH] automake: add support to src/glsl/

Miles Bader miles at gnu.org
Wed Sep 28 23:28:21 PDT 2011

2011/9/29 Alan Coopersmith <alan.coopersmith at oracle.com>:
>> _Why_ is the GPLv3 "not acceptable", when the GPLv2 was?
> Note his employer, which is well known as not accepting the GPLv3,
> possibly due to it being a mobile phone manufacturer, and the GPLv3's
> free patent license grant not fitting well with the current mobile phone
> environment in which every manufacturer is involved in more patent
> infringement lawsuits & countersuits than anyone wants to consider.

Er, sure, but that brings up my second point:  the GPL restricts
redistribution, not use, so you are not required to "accept it" to use
GPL tools.

So the original complaint, that he is "forced to accept the GPLv3 to
use autoconf" seems a little confused.  [of course certainly it's
possible that _I'm_ confused, or there's a subtlety I'm missing.]

[W/R/T patents in particular, the GPLv3 only seems to affect (1)
contributors to autoconf, and (2) those who redistribute autoconf in a
way that would violate some patent except for a private license
between the two parties.  For mere users of autoconf, neither is going
to be an issue.]

> Since most developers on the X & Mesa projects are doing it as part of
> our paid employment, we are subject to the constraints of the licenses
> our employers are willing to accept, and no amount of logic or arguments
> from outsiders can trump company policy.

This is true, but on the other hand, there's a limit to which projects
should be willing to accept arbitrary and unreasonable restrictions
imposed by the employers of contributors.  When "company policy" is
due to real issues for the employer, which are likely shared by others
as well, then probably the project should at least tend towards
respecting it; on the other hand, completely _arbitrary_ "company
policies" ("we hate the letter G, so absolutely no source files
containing it are acceptable!") are less defensible.

There's a clear negative impact from restricting autoconf use to old
versions (autoconf has bugs and misfeatures, and these are often fixed
in newer versions), so I don't think it's a decision that should be
taken lightly (short-term restrictions are less of an issue, of

As the GPLv3 is widely used, I think this is an issue that will come
up again, so it's worth some discussion.


Cat is power.  Cat is peace.

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