[Bf-committers] extension clause

David Jeske davidj at gmail.com
Mon Nov 15 08:11:08 CET 2010

On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 6:29 PM, Martin Poirier <theeth at yahoo.com> wrote:

> > Don't make the mistake of thinking that "doing it in secret" is a
> good enough answer for a company.
> It's not a matter of secret or not. The GPL is a distribution license, if
> you don't distribute your modifications, you can do whatever you want.
> That means any company can start modifying Blender and using it internally,
> as long as they don't distribute the modifications externally, licensing is
> not an issue.

I see that a few here believe this interpretation. My main goal in entering
this conversation was to educate and explain why this is absolutly not the
case in practice.

In the real world, no company I'm aware of will link their propritary code
with GPL code, because it creates too much risk. I respect the folks here
who believe it's not important to cater to corporate usage of Blender. I
don't agree with that perspective, but I respect it. However, folks who
believe that because of their 'layman's read of the GPL' that most software
companies will link their own propritary code with GPL code are simply
ignorant, misinformed, or both.

Companies are made up of individuals, and it's not easy to always keep a
watchful eye over everything that happens. It is easier to have a safe rule
like "don't link with GPL code" than it is to assure that GPL code never
accidentally gets linked into a distributed binary, thus triggering some
legal requirement to GPL and release company source code. What little
courtroom time the GPL has seen comes in the form of the Tivo cases, and
companies don't wish to be on the other end of this fight. They simply steer
clear of it.

If you don't believe companies using Linux and MySQL helped those tools
become successful, or you don't feel that the same cycle is important for
Blender, I can see why this issue wouldn't be terribly important to you.
However, if you think corporate usage of Blender is importantant, don't pass
off this as a non-issue simply because your personal read of the GPL tells
you so. If you don't take my word for it, talk to corporate council for a
medium size software company. They will explain to you why they recommend
against linking with GPL code.

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