GMP forked; Torbjorn Granlund: "blatant falsehoods and sinister insinuations"

Joerg Arndt arndt at
Fri May 30 11:11:49 CEST 2008

* William Stein <wstein at> [May 30. 2008 17:59]:
> Torbjorn Granlund:
> > The other publicly stated reasons are a mixture of
> > blatant falsehoods and sinister insinuations.
> > This fork exists for some very different reasons than those publicy
> > stated.
> I know why the fork exists, so I'll state publicly precisely
> why the fork exists.  The issues below are not
> blatant falsehood or sinister insinuations.
> 1. FACT: (L)GPLv3 cannot be used by some companies.  See below where
> I discuss this issue at length.

Their problem, also see below.

> 2. FACT: The GMP project is not developer friendly. This is easy to
> see by reading the GMP mailing lists.
> 3. FACT: The GMP project does not have a regular and
> predictable release cycle. How many times has the GMP 5.0 release
> been moved back -- it used to be "sometime in 2007", but now the
> GMP site says "5.0 is planned to come out in a couple of years."
> 4. FACT: The working code repository of GMP is closed.  There is
> no public svn, etc. repository so that anybody can look at the latest
> version of the GMP code. See 2.

2,3,4 acknowledged, there should be an open svn and a proper
relesase cycle.

> 5. FACT: Some extremely capable developers do not want to contribute to
> an LGPL'd project, because they don't want their voluntary contributions
> to be used by Maple, Mathematica and Magma to make money.

5. acknowledged, there should be a list what commercial projects
are using GMP.

> 6. FACT: The GMP project is unfriendly toward natively supporting
> Microsoft Windows using MSVC.  Just see any email you have sent
> to Brian Gladdman.
> 7. FACT: The GMP project has been unfriendly toward supporting OS X.
> Just search the gmp list archives for OS X.

6,7, haven't followed on these.
But I have seen patches for stuff I am doing to make things
"work" under Windows.  These are horrible things to work around
Microsoft's compiler's not sticking to any standard whatsoever.

> Torbjorn Granlund:
> > I think the forkers over at SAGE use the purported v3 incompatibility
> > issues as an excuse for forking GMP.
> I have been approached by numerous people (from industry,
> government, etc.) over the last three years about forking GMP.
> GPLv3 was one of numerous factors that really pushed things
> over the edge, though a fork would have happened anyways.

Has anyone of those even attempted to talk to TG?

Will we ever know about the numerous reasons of
the numerous important people?

This is FUD no more.

> Torbjorn Granlund wrote:
> > Seriously, please don't use this sort of rhetoric.  At least not
> > before you've explained the actual problem.  I suspect the SAGE team's
> > problem is mere stubbornness, in particular since they have not been
> > able to produce one single reason for their problems with v3.  But I
> > am all ears, should somebody spell it out.
> It is no secret that the Sage project receives some funding from
> Microsoft Research to produce free open source
> mathematical software for use by their researchers.  See
> for a list of organizations that fund Sage development.
> A company-wide requirement at Microsoft is that they do not run any
> GPLv3 code, not even binaries.  This is not surprising in light
> of numerous quotes by Stallman about how GPLv3 was designed
> partly to attack Microsoft.  For example:
>  Stallman: "The point of the GPLv3 conditions that apply to the
>  Novell/Microsoft deal is to give the rest of the community a defense
>  against Microsoft's patent threats. If these conditions do their job,
>  the result will be that Microsoft never goes beyond threats, and the
>  community is safe."
> This is one straightforward reason why GPLv3+ only code
> is a problem for the Sage project.    It has nothing to do with
> ideological stubborness by Sage developers (instead it is
> ideological stubborness by Stallman).

I do not see one bad iota in Stallman's words above.
Could you enlighten us?

> If Microsoft  maintains this policy, then they will
> also not run new versions of Mathematica, Maple,
> Magma, that depend on any LGPLv3+ code.
> So the problem Sage has will also be a problem for all
> those projects.  And I guarantee you that people at Microsoft
> know about this issue.
> You probably don't like Microsoft, so I doubt we will find any sympathy
> from you as a result of the above.  But rest assured
> that the above issues with GPLv3 are NOT motivated by "mere
> stubborness" by the *Sage team*.  So you are wrong about that.

Microsoft has attacked Linux, Open Source the FSF in all conceivable
ways.  They called it communism (think witch-hunt), cancer and so
on.  They repeatedly claimed Linux is using 234 or so of their
patented technologies; never giving one concrete instance.
They have a long history of killing competitors (real or perceived),
embrace-extend-extinguish, and making false claims of every sort.
They are convicted for abusing their monopoly.  They abused
the standardisation process (OOXML).  They are most certainly
a force behind SCO's dirty campaign.

Have you really missed _all_ of this?

The GPL ver.3 is addressing that, calling this "stubborn" amazes
me quite a bit.

The ver.3 also addresses Tivo-ization and DRM issues.  This is 
certainly a good thing to do.

If you do any sort of business or cooporation with Microsoft
just stay away from GPL projects, it's that easy!

If companies cannot use ver.3 then it is their problem;  why
should we waste even one brain cycle on that?

Even communicating with Microsoft when it comes to free and
open software is a very ill advised thing; why not consulting
SCO right away?  Just don't go the Novell/Miguel Icaza way.

Note as long as a project does not contain _any_ code that
is ver.2-only things are OK-ish because everybody can take
the whole lump and re-licence under ver-3.

Also note other libraries used in SAGE may well switch to
ver.3 after GMP did.  I dearly hope they will.

> --
> William Stein
> Associate Professor of Mathematics
> University of Washington
> _______________________________________________
> gmp-discuss mailing list
> gmp-discuss at

cheers,   jj

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