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Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2012 05:01:45 +0400
From: Alexander Cherepanov <>
Subject: Re: GPL license is not free at all

On 2012-10-01 23:29, magnum wrote:
> On 1 Oct, 2012, at 18:08 , Aleksey Cherepanov <> wrote:
>>>> It means that you could not add any additional limitation of freedom.
>>>> Adding unrar with its limitation violates this.
>>>> Does it make sense for you?
>>> Who knew freedom had so many restrictions!!
>> These GPL's restrictions are needed to protect freedom of every user.
> But I am a user and I get nothing but a serious *limitation* of
> freedom here. I modified and included a piece of freely distributable
> code (it is!) into our project of freely distributable code, and
> suddenly they are allegedly sinful to combine so we must now drop RAR
> from JtR, in the name of Freedom? Sounds like extremism to me.

The freedom to combine whatever you like is not the freedom that Free
Software is about. Roughly speaking it's about the freedom to modify
however you like. unrar doesn't give you this freedom fully so it's not
free. Or put it another way: Free Software is not about features, it's
about freedom. You are free to choose more features sucrificing some
freedoms but some people think that's wrong and use GPL to make sure
their code cannot be used in such a way.

The reason why it sounds like extremism to you is probably because unrar
is just a little bit beyond the border of free. Consider the clause in a
license which requries to send a postcard to the author, to but a beer
for the author if you meet him, to pet a cat or to send five bucks to
the author, not to use a program in a nuclear research or not to use a
program in the military. Some will consider these acceptable, others --
not. It's necessary to draw a line somewhere. IMHO it's quite natural to
require free works to allow any modifications and any restrictions on
modifications (however small they be) consider non-free.


> I'll await what Solar has to say when he gets the time (yet I wish he
> could spend his time on more constructive things than this).

Solar also distributes jumbo from so it's also necessary
for him to get it right.

> I still
> have hard to believe source-only distribution can possibly be a
> problem. By the way, ClamAV still have the RAR code in their git
> three years after the mentioned mailing list thread, while binary
> distributions like Debian and Fedora just omit the RAR stuff in their
> binary packages of ClamAV.

First of all, they could be wrong. Second, they have rar support as a
separate library IIUC, Third, are you sure they distribute third-party
GPL'd code? It they are the only copyright holders they are free to
distribute their code however they like (they are not bound by GPL, the
redistributor are).

> So I'm hoping I can get away with just
> "#ifdef TAINTED" or something like that.

I doubt it.

Alexander Cherepanov

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