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

Miles Bader miles at gnu.org
Thu Sep 29 18:30:57 PDT 2011

2011/9/30 Jeremy Huddleston <jeremyhu at freedesktop.org>:
>> 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.
> Again, mirroring Alan's comment.  IANAL.  I just do what the Lawyers
> say.  I am told not to touch GLPv3 with a 10 foot poll while I have my
> Apple hat on, so I go beyond that and stay 10 miles away from GPLv3
> while I have my Apple hat on.

Vague statements like "touch with a 10 foot pole" are not meaningful.
[See below for more details]

>> So the original complaint, that he is "forced to accept the GPLv3
>> to use autoconf" seems a little confused.
> From the 2.62 release notes at http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/autotools-announce/2008-04/msg00002.html:
> """
> Meanwhile, several source files within the Autoconf project are under
> GPLv3+, as described in COPYINGv3; these files are used for building
> and installing Autoconf, but are not present in the installed
> programs.  The entire Autoconf project will move to GPLv3+ when the
> exception statements have been reformulated in terms of the Additional
> Permissions as described in section 7 of GPLv3.
> """
> That alone means no 2.62 for me while I'm doing Apple-fu.

The GPL only applies to redistribution, not use.

_Users_ of autoconf (like you, as a Mesa dev), _projects_ that use
autoconf (like Mesa), _restributors_ of autoconf-using projects, and
_end-users_ of such projects do not need to "accept" the GPL at all,
v3 or otherwise, and are not affected by its terms.

So unless you're sending copies of autoconf _itself_ (not Mesa) to
other people, the version of GPL used in autoconf simply does not
apply to you.  [Again, see below for more detail]

>> As the GPLv3 is widely used, I think this is an issue that will
>> come up again, so it's worth some discussion.
> It's not that simple.  We should not thrust acceptance of a new
> license down our users throats.  The existence of GPLv3 is what
> prompted Gentoo to add support to portage to allow users to block
> installing packages based on license.  Clearly it's not just one or
> two companies that are afraid of it.

Again, using autoconf _does not require users to "accept" the GPLv3,
nor does it place them under any restrictions due to the GPL[v3]_.

autoconf-generated files and autoconf boilerplate in Mesa itself are
_under the Mesa license_, so one can happily restribute Mesa without
having to "accept" the GPL[v3] or incur any restrictions from it..

There is no "forcing down the throat", as they simply aren't affected by it.

Here's my argument:

  (1) Mesa should try to respect corporate restrictions that are based
      on actual potential harm/consequence to the developer

  (2) However Mesa should _not_ feel beholden to follow those which
      have no valid basis (e.g. those based merely on "dislike")
  (3) There are real negative consequences to not using newer version
      of autoconf, so it's not something that should be done lightly

  (4) Merely _using_ autoconf does not imply "acceptance" of the
      GPL[v3] or incur any restrictions from it (the GPL is about
      restribution, not use; a user is _not affected_)

  (5) for autoconf-related files distributed with Mesa itself (which
      Mesa contributors presumably do want to redistribute), there are
      three types:

     (5.1) autoconf-generated files:  these are not under the GPL but
           rather an extremely liberal license:

         # This file is free software; the Free Software Foundation
         # gives unlimited permission to copy and/or distribute it,
         # with or without modifications, as long as this notice is preserved.

     (5.2) autoconf boilerplate:  these use the GPL[v3], but contain a
           term which allows them to be restributed under the Mesa
           license as well:

         # As a special exception to the GNU General Public License, if you
         # distribute this file as part of a program that contains a
         # configuration script generated by Autoconf, you may include it under
         # the same distribution terms that you use for the rest of that program.

     (5.3) autoconf input files:  these are obviously purely Mesa, and
           are under the Mesa license, and not affected by the license
           of autoconf

     => So users, developers, and redistributors of Mesa do not need
        to "accept" the GPL[v3], nor incur any restrictions from it,
        based on autoconf-related files in Mesa.

   (6) Therefore, Mesa developers/users/redistributors are _not
       affected_ by the GPLv3, even if GPLv3'd versions of autoconf
       are used.

   (7) Thus while companies like Apple may not like the GPLv3, they
       are not actually affected by the use of GPLv3'd autoconf in
       Mesa, so there's no rational basis for their trying to restrict
       projects like Mesa from using such tools.

   (8) ... and therefore, Mesa should judge the harm from avoiding
       newer versions of autoconf as greater than Apple's dislike of
       it, because the latter has no basis in the case of Mesa.

Maybe I'm wrong somewhere, but _please_ point out _where_, rather than
using vague handwaving.



Cat is power.  Cat is peace.

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