Subject: Liberation of free software from non-free libraries (was Re: Reverse Engineering and Derived Works in Open Source Licenses?)
From: James Michael DuPont <>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 03:26:29 -0800 (PST)

--- Rick Moen <> wrote:
> Quoting James Michael DuPont (
> >
> > 
> > Does anyone care to comment?
> Matt Welsh's observation amounts to saying that the GPL (and, by
> extension, other licences) place no impediment on writing an
> independent
> implementation of the same idea.  That's true.  It's a clear
> consequence
> of copyright law wither or without UCC 2B.  That's what makes
> copyrights
> different from patents.
> (I'm making no comment on licences that purport to forbid or restrict
> reverse-engineering.)
> > The GPL is based on the assumption that any derived work based on
> GPL'd
> > software must make use of the source code, which is not necessarily
> > true.
> A work created by observing how the original functions, and then
> independently writing code that performs the same function, is not a
> "derivative work" in the sense defined in copyright law (and referred
> to
> in the GPL text).

The reason why I am asking this is following : 

I am proposing the following scenario to get replace non-fee libraries
in free software. We reverse engineer the free software and extract all
the usage of the non free library from the free software.

My argument is simple,
if we take all the calls to the non free library as used in free
software, and intercept them, and reverse engineer them,
No one can argue that the result is non-free.

Who can argue that extracting mechanically all the usages of
non-freesoftware from free software is all of a sudden non free. 

It is safe to have copies of free software. It is safe to
mechanically extract code from free software. It is safe to contain
copies of the free software.

All we need to do this properly is the permission of a group of people
who has a large application written using each this non-free library to
use the results of the non-free compile to extract parts of that.

I would say that what I am proposing is real competition :

1. Marketing:  finding out the market for replacement, what DLLS need

2. Aggressive Competition:  we approach the customers, the users of
these dlls, we sell the on the idea of Liberating their software. We
offer to take the hard and creative work that they have done and remove
the dependany on non-free software.

3. Re implementation
We re implement the functionality used of the customers, with free
software. We don't have to re implement all the functions, all the
concepts, because not all are used. By the usage of ILStubInterceptor
we can find out what code is used the most. 

I think this is completely fair and legal way to replace non-free
software with free software. 

My proposal requires that some willing contributor has done the
creative manual work to use a non-free software, and allows us to
capitalizes on that creative work.

What do you think?

What if the non-free lib had a non-reverse engineering clause, and was
covered by patents?


James Michael DuPont

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, more
license-discuss archive is at