"Daniel Carrera" <dcarrera / math.umd.edu> wrote in message
news:20030711193011.GB934 / math.umd.edu...
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>
> And now we have agreed that we differ on what constitutes a viral entity.
>
> We agree that:
>  1) Putting GPL code in your app does not automatically make your
>     app GPL.
>  2) Some times you might feel pressure to GPL your app because if you
>     don't you won't get the benefits of the GPL code you want to use.
>
> I think that (1) makes the GPL non-viral.
> You think that (2) makes the GPL viral.
>
> Can we agree on the factuality of (1) and (2) so that we simply agree to
> disagree on the definition of the word "viral"?

We seem to have come to a mutual understanding on everything else, except
this one little point.  I hope I make this clear enough.

On your first point above: We already know you can use the GPL in an
application and that doesn't make your application GPL.  Only if you choose
to release the application with GPL code linked in does your application
have to be GPL.  Just like I can host a cold virus and the virus might sit
there in my nasal passages and never replicate even once before it finally
dies.  I believe we've already covered ways you can include GPL in your
application without having to release your application under the GPL.  The
fact that you have to release your application with GPL code to force the
GPL upon your application does not make the GPL viral or non-viral; it's
just not a definition of the term "viral" at all.  The term "viral" refers
to the GPL's permanent attachment to released GPL applications (cannot be
revoked) and how it replicates (all derived or subsequent linked-to
applications must also be released under the GPL if they are released
publicly at all.

Again, "viral" is more of a reference to it's replication properties and has
nothing to do with whether or not the developer has a choice to use the GPL
or not; having a choice is just not any part of the definition of the term.
The term describes replication properties, not "force" or "automation" or
"choice."  They're not part of the description of the behavior of the GPL
regarding its replication properties.

I don't know how I can make that clearer.  You keep referring to "choice"
and "automation" and such, and that has zero to do with the fact that the
GPL does, in fact, replicate itself.

Replication.

This is the reference when people use the term "viral."

Replication.

On the second point above: I never made reference(s) (that I'm aware of) to
a developer's pressure to GPL an application.  I said that once the
committment was made to put GPL code in your application and the committment
was made to release it, the application (unless you are deliberately
breaking the terms of the GPL for some reason) must be released under the
GPL license.

The pressure someone feels is something they experience *before* they make
the committment.  They either resist the pressure, and avoid the GPL, or
succumb to it and their application becomes GPL.  I am saying nothing about
the pressure to use the GPL nor the act of deciding to use GPL code or not
(aka, the "contagiousness"), I am speaking about how the GPL behaves once
the committment is made (aka the "virus" has taken hold).  The GPL, at that
point, replicates itself identically and becomes a part of the application,
with the original inserted/linked GPL code acting as the vector.

Do you see what I am trying to say yet?  I am not really concerned at this
point about a developer's perceived pressure to use the GPL or not.  I am
talking about the nature of the GPL once the developer has already made that
committment, and how the GPL replicates itself identically from one project
to the next.

It was designed this way.  RMS clearly designed the GPL to replicate itself
from one project to the next.  And clearly, in real-world use, the GPL
*has*, in fact, replicated itself around quite effectively.  I call that
"viral."  The true nature of a virus is to attach and replicate.  It's not
perfect; there are anti-bodies and other things which can prevent its
success, and some virii can only be caught through certain actions on the
part of the host, so the host actually has to take action to catch the
virus.  But that doesn't make it a non-virus; of course its a virus.  We
call it a virus because of the way it attaches and replicates.  Some virii
we can shake off, and some we can't; but either way, they're still virii.

Further on that subject, people actually inject themselves deliberately with
man-made virii called Phages that are used to fight anti-biotic-resistant
bacteria.  They don't even exist in the wild, and have to be created and
then injected into their hosts.  By your logic, these aren't virii because
they can't infect you against your will.  Yet, everyone calls them virii;
and, in my opinion, they are.  If you don't agree, you should go over to
phage.org and tell them that because their "doohickeys" don't attach
themselves to their hosts without explicit action and permission, they're
not really "virii" and to please stop calling them that.

So, I do respect your right to keeping your opinion if you choose to
maintain that the GPL does not have a viral nature, but I, personally, see
no logic yet here that I can hang onto long enough to entertain that idea.

    Sean O'Dell