Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 23:15:36 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erann Gat
| Yes it is.  Software isn't made of matter.  (The media in which software
| resides are made of matter, but the software itself is not.)  The
| "physics" of software are different from the physics of material objects.

  This is completely bogus.  There is no physical way to separate software
  from the medium.  Copying it requires a physical process, just like any
  other physical object does.  The so-called "abstraction" of meaning is no
  different from that performed by illuminating a page full of ink blots
  and understanding the reflected photons as letters and words and meaning
  in some language the reader understands.  However, both the books and the
  literature contained in them are physically existing objects.  Software
  is just like that literature.  Again, it is only because it is convenient
  to some political and ideological ends that software is somehow regarded
  as this mystical, non-physical, magical thing.  It is, in fact, not true.

| >   In the case of GNU GPL'ed stuff, they can, in theory, force me to
| >   give away stuff that is not related to the object whose license I have
| >   supposedly violated.
| No, they can't.  From the GPL paragraph 2:
|  If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program,
|  and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
|  themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those
|  sections when you distribute them as separate works. 

  Sigh.  The context here is when the GNU GPL applies but is violated,
  obviously not when it does not apply, so the context was _obviously_ when
  distributing them not as separate works, but together.  It is _not_ the
  intention, nor the letter of the GNU GPL, to make it possible for people
  to separate works from eachother merely because they violate the license.
  So, if you distribute them together and thus fall under the license
  agreement, you have to give it away because you have violated the license.

  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.