Python no longer GPL-compatible (Squeak implications?)

Andrew C. Greenberg werdna at
Sat Sep 9 14:43:58 UTC 2000

>I have no problem with anyone claiming copyright to their work which
>they add to Squeak. That is their right under the law and is a sensible
>thing if authors want to help preserve their rights under copyright law.


>One issue hinges on the meaning of "distribute" which is the only thing
>that invokes the related clause of the Squeak license.

. . .

>Again, this hinges on what it means to "distribute" or "sublicense".
>However, if such code is considered to be "distributed" or "modified",
>then it would fall under the licensing requirements of exhibit A -- but
>only at that point.

And I suppose that that hinges on what you meant by "it"?  :-)

Because of the context, the term "distribute," IMHO, will likely 
refer to the notion of distribution under the Copyright Act, as used 
in 17 U.S.C. 106 (exclusive rights of copyright holder).  Happily, 
this isn't rocket science.  The following, while clearly somewhat 
more whimsical than what you will find in the case law is a fair 
account of how the term is typically construed:

If I made it then, and you, who are different from me, have it now -- 
it was distributed.  If you, directly or indirectly caused me to have 
it, and took no steps to prevent me from having it, then you 
distributed it to me.

Exceptions: Inside a business, in the case of a work made for hire, 
the transfer between employees is probably not distribution -- that 
would include giving it to a courier to transfer between offices.

In other words -- common sense prevails.  There's ample case law to 
work through the nuances.

>Again, my point is that if CNRI can claim basically that CNRI never
>licensed Python for internet download, why can't Disney do the same?

Because it would be ludicrous for Disney to make the argument that it 
didn't distribute Squeak to us.

>This gets back to the issue of being explicit in granting permissions
>and licenses to use copyrighted works being made open source.


>It is also the case that if a contributor outside of Disney has made
>additions to Squeak and said they are under the a Squeak-like License
>and then Disney modified theses additions, then the Disney modifications
>may fall under a Squeak compatible license -- although again, only when
>they are considered to be "distributed" or "sublicensed" by Disney.

 From the Welcome window in Squesk 2.8:

"Works submitted for inclusion with Squeak shall be presumed subject 
to the same liberal license as the Squeak distribution 
[], unless stated to the contrary in 
the submission."

>Open source and free software are still sort of new things to the legal

True, but most of the issues raised in Paul's remark

>Again, I don't think the Squeak license covers things like Morphic,
>which is mostly or entirely an addition not a change.

I see no reason to concur with Paul's analysis on this.  Disney 
distributed the entire image, with the statement that it is released 
pursuant to the license.  Presuming that the relationship between Dan 
and Alan and Disney have no special fillups that would preclude 
Disney's apparent authority to do this, I wouldn't worry about this 
particular issue -- and heck, if Dan sued me in such an 
extraordinarily strange case, then I'd have Disney to sue for 

>I can't recall a
>post by someone like Dan Ingalls or Alan Kay ever for example saying
>"Disney legal has given us explicit permission to put all (or some
>specific part) of our work with Squeak under a license like the Squeak

This has no bearing on the issue.

>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

My conclusion last time: Squeak-L is servicable as-is, and we should 
probably simplify it, consistent with the strictures of the Apple 
license, just as soon as we have made the product Apple-font-less.
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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