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Re: [eclipse-dev] GPL'd Plug-ins

From: "Scott Stanchfield" <scott@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Wait a second... (Not getting defensive, but...)

Wow. I wish I could type that fast!

I agree it is quixotic to attempt to have the last word in a thread and I
won't vie with you for the honor ;-} but when you travel all the detours and
spin your tires in all the turnabouts, all roads lead to the same
conclusion: CPL and GPL don't mix.

Plugin writers depend on the kindness of You do not want a team
of IBM lawyers picking through your code (or your NAL reasoning) looking for
violations of the CPL. Nothing could be worth that.


> One could argue that Eclipse calls the plugin, and therefore you could
> define a useful plugin as GPL: Because the callee was GPL, all callers
> be GPL, and because the only caller, Eclipse, isn't GPL, you could never
> link them. Therefore, all GPL plugins are useless...
> I actually kind of like that idea (as I'm not a fan of the virus known as
> GPL), but I think it misses the point. The *intent* is that the plugin is
> extending Eclipse, not the other way around.
> However, the real key here is *distribution*. The GPL is all about
> distributing mods/extensions to existing GPL software. Such mods can be
> actual changes to the GPL'd SW (which must be GPL'd), or programs that use
> the GPL'd SW.
> In particular, the GPL states:
> "Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
> covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running
> Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only
> if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of
> having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on
> what the Program does. "
> That said, if I have
>   Eclipse (CPL)
>   Plugin1 (CPL)
>   Plugin2 (GPL)
>   Plugin3 (uses extension points from plugin1)
>   Plugin4 (uses extension points from plugin2)
> We have a few scenarios to consider:
> 1) End user uses Plugin1 inside Eclipse
>    -- I think everyone agrees that this isn't an issue -- they're both CPL
> 2) End user uses Plugin1 and Plugin3 inside Eclipse
>    -- All CPL -- again, not an issue
> 3) End user uses Plugin2 inside Eclipse
>    -- this seems to cause a bit of confusion, but
>       Plugin1 is extending Eclipse, not the other way around
>       Therefore this shouldn't be a problem
> 4) End user uses Plugin2 and Plugin4 inside Eclipse
>    -- The main issue...
>       a) Plugin2 is GPL
>       b) Plugin4 extends Plugin2 (using an extension point)
>          It is now a "work based on the program" per GPL
>       c) Plugin4 has been distributed
>       Therefore, Plugin4 must be GPL.
> 5) Mix of all pieces together
>    a) Plugin2 and Plugin4 are GPL (see #4)
>    b) Eclipse isn't GPL (see #3)
>    c) Plugin1 and Plugin3 don't use any GPL'd code -- they can remain CPL
>    End user is combining tools to make an environment, not a work based on
>    the individual pieces.
> 6) Distribution as a "package"
>    Suppose someone put Eclipse and all of the above Plugins on one CD.
>    This still would only require Plugin3 and Plugin4 to be GPL. Per GPL:
>    "In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the
>     Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program)
>     on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring
>     the other work under the scope of this License."
> Bottom Line:
> I think the simplest/safest way to think about this is that if you have a
> <requires> in your plugin for a GPL'd plugin, you're GPL. (This, IMHO,
> consititutes "linking")
> Are there other cases to consider here?
> -- Scott
> NAL, but I play one in email...
> [Wait until people start writing GPL web services... That'll be naaaaasty
> resolve...
> It'll either come down to intent (program A doesn't know/didn't plan to
> GPL'd code) or if GPL folks insist that any code that happens to hit a
> service be GPL, GPL would quickly be "outlawed". Otherwise, if any web
> service could be GPL, and any other web service might hit it, all web
> services must be GPL...
> Same situation as Eclipse, really...]
> ====================
> Scott Stanchfield
> FGM, Inc.
> scotts@xxxxxxx
> ====================
> _______________________________________________
> eclipse-dev mailing list
> eclipse-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx

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