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Re: Where is GDB going

On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Steven Johnson wrote:

> Quality Quorum wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > However, I had a short but unpleasant private discussion with RMS about
> > GPL 3.0 from which I concluded (1) that it may preclude proprietary
> > software debugging with future versions of GDB by closing protocol linking
> > loophole in GPL 2.0, 
> Im guessing that you mean linking to a GPL Program, that is necessary
> for  your program to work, using a communication protocol (say, on top
> of TCP/IP) instead of binary linking (say, using a loadable/linked
> library) would imply that the connecting program needs to be GPL?
> This does not make sense, and given the history of the FSF and the GPL
> where they created free alternatives to commonly available Unix
> Utilities (some of which could inter-communicate using comms protocols)
> is also paradoxical.  If this was the case then if Samba used GPL3.0
> then you would not be able to share files with MS Windows unless MS
> Windows was GPL!!  Bye Bye Samba :(  I Must have misunderstood what you
> mean here, could you explain what this loophole is?  

I hope I misunderstood RMS, however, I had asked him the same question
in a few variants, and response was about the same. I must note that 
(1) English is not my native language though and (2)I am not a lawyer.
> > (2) that it will be for sure impossible (and it is
> > may be illegal right now) to link gdb with proprietary software driving
> > various hardware probes. 
> I Agree with this.  There are way too many vendors making Windows DLL's
> for their proprietary debug Hardware, and cluttering GDB with Hooks to
> those DLL's.  This is (in my opinion) a clear brach of the GPL (in
> spirit if not in word).  These vendors are riding off the back of the
> work done by and for the FSF without contributing anything back.  And in
> some cases these vendors are obstructionist in even allowing people to
> write properly GPL'd alternatives to their Closed Windows DLL.  I don't
> think it should be allowed, or supported by the GDB community and Any
> patches to GDB that do this trick should be rejected out of hand. See
> ser-ocd.c and v850ice.c (in alphabetical order) for examples of this in
> the current GDB source.  These vendors should either open up their
> direct interfaces to their debuggers or they should not expect a free
> debugger in GDB.  This is a classic "Free as in Beer" not "Free as in
> Freedom" situation.  There are also other Vendor specific versions of
> GDB with similar closed interfaces.
> This is wrong, and should not be tolerated or encouraged.

I agree that there should be a line in the sand, however, currently 
it is way far to the left. If people have intellectual property and 
trade secrets hardwired into their hardware, then they should be allowed
to protect these secrets from disclosure by writing closed library 
obscuring details of their stuff. Otherwise, I would not be 
surprised that say GPL 4.0 code would require verilog code of all chips 
it is driving to be GPLed too.

> > So, I am staying quite discuraged from working in
> > this area at all.
> > 
> I would be very discouraged as well, if your first point is as i've
> interpreted it.  But this can not be so as it is non-sensical.

I can only hope.

> Regards,
> Steven Johnson



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