Python no longer GPL-compatible (Squeak implications?)

Andrew C. Greenberg werdna at
Sat Sep 9 15:25:30 UTC 2000

At 3:58 PM +0100 9/9/00, Jonathan Coupe wrote:
>  > I'm sorry to have to bring licensing issues up again. Last time there
>>  was a licensing discussion on this list some objected and asked instead
>>  a vetted summary be posted to avoid confusion -- which is probably a
>  > very good idea, assuming any IP lawyers out there want to review this
>>  issue and post an official pronouncement. I'm happy to let this wind
>>  down on the list -- but I still think it is an issue an should be
>>  addressed.
>>  -Paul Fernhout
>>  Kurtz-Fernhout Software
>As another list user who is thinking of using Squeak on a commercial
>project, I agree very strongly with this. If the Squeak Team have a strong
>interest in getting commercial users, this matter has to be addressed.
>That's not to say that the Squeak Team *should* have such an interest - and
>in fact I think it may be rather low on their list of priorities (I'm
>thinking of Dr Kay's post comparing Squeak and Python in particular.)

Even if you were correct in your assumptions about Squeak's authors, 
I can't imagine anything like that ever happening.  The reason is 

The request is unprecedented.  I am aware of no open source, or 
commercial project, for that matter, whose license is the subject of 
an "official pronouncement" by an attorney concerning any particular 
use by any individual.

Even if an "official pronouncment" were given, it would still be too 
much and not enough.  The license, quite frankly, speaks for itself, 
and to the extent that it requires interpretation, so too would any 
"official pronouncement."  Words cannot be clarified by more words -- 
indeed, my experience as a lawyer is that more words ALMOST ALWAYS 
makes an overall construction more complicated, never less.  Folks 
dissatisfied with any caveat or qualification would STILL be asking 
questions about the scope and meaning of the "official pronouncment" 
and doubting the comercial utility of an application.

The license is what it is.  Many of us are satisfied with it for our 
purposes, commercial and non-commercial, and some of us, apparently, 
are not.  (As Paul pointed out earlier, the "font thing" is arguably 
an issue in a commercial product --if you are think Apple can own a 
proprietary interest in a bitmap font-- unless you get a separate 
license from Apple).  This has been elaborately hashed out in the 
archives, and Paul raises no new issues in his posting.  You should 
never find yourself guessing, however, which one of the various free 
pieces of advice posted here you should take.  The only certain thing 
about free advice, is that you are likely to get your money's worth.

At the end of the day, you SHOULD ALWAYS consult with an attorney 
before using ANY software package owned by another, whether open 
source or otherwise, to assure that the licenses given are suitable 
for your particular purposes.
Andrew C. Greenberg		acg at
V.P. Eng., R&D, 		813.885.2779 (office)
NetWolves Corporation		813.885.2380 (facsimile)

Please use werdna at instead of werdna at

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