Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off.
GNU Restrictions?

I have been a fan of Linux for some time, and lately also of LJ, which I consider an excellent source of information. I have, however, been reluctant to address Linux as a target platform, because of the restrictions imposed by the GNU General Public License.

If I understand correctly, I may not compile a program with gcc under Linux and then expect to market it without accompanying source code. Also, I may not deny my licensee the right to re-distribute the program, or even sell it. This is because my application would constitute a “work based on gcc”, as defined in paragraph 1 of the GPL, and also because it would contain library code covered by the GPL.

But then, browsing through your magazine I found out that, for example, Caldera imposes much more restrictive terms on its products. Also, I have seen an ad about Mathematica for Linux, and I doubt that Wolfram Research is willing to qualify its product as a “work based on gcc”.

Clearly I am missing something. The question is, how can you market a commercial product under Linux and make sure that your customer is not re-selling it, or maybe installing it on 600 machines? Do you have to use a compiler other than gcc (is there any)?

I appreciate any advice you may give on the subject. Keep up the excellent work.

—Luca Cotta Ramusino lcotta@systemy.it

Common Misconception

First of all, compiling with gcc does not make your application a “work based on gcc”. Second, the C library is not covered by the GPL, but by the LGPL, the GNU Library General Public License, which allows you to distribute applications linked to shared libraries without inheriting copyright restrictions. Third, there are at least two other C compilers available for Linux; Linux FT comes with a different compiler as the default system compiler, and lcc is also available.

So you can safely target Linux with your current GNU toolset.

New Swatch Location

Greetings. I read the January and February issues of LJ with great interest, especially the security section. In the February issue, you have the site for swatch as being sierra.stanford.edu:/pub/sources. It has moved to ftp.stanford.edu:/general/security-tools/swatch. I thought that this might be useful to anybody else who is looking for it...


—Duncan Hill dhill@sunbeach.net

[The url he mentions has been corrected for this archive CD —Ed]


White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState