GMP license problem, anyone?

Paul Leyland paul at
Fri May 30 19:35:06 CEST 2008

On Fri, 2008-05-30 at 17:09, Bill Hart wrote:

> I'm surprised it isn't on the front page of slashdot by now that
> Microsoft will be using a large open source project, and that they are
> even paying money for the work.
> You really do an insult to the outstanding contribution of Peter
> Montgomery to the open source GMP-ECM project by insisting that
> Microsoft are trying to destroy your project by paying for a fork, and
> implying that they are doing illegal deals potentially violating the
> LGPL, etc, blah, blah, blah.

Is this the five-minute argument, or the full half hour(*).

Perhaps I could add that for over 6 years, ceasing just under 4 years
ago, I worked for MSR Cambridge.  Not only was Peter Montgomery a
cow-orker (more properly, a core-searcher) I was sounded out by the
people responsible for hiring him.  (I told them not to be silly and to
hire him at the first opportunity, but that's by the way.)

MSR have a long history of using {L,}GPL software, as well as that
released under many GPL-compatible licenses such as BSD and Perl. 
Specific examples include ghc, the Glasgow Haskell compiler and, closer
to home, the NFSNET infrastructure which is released under a BSD-like
license.  We (MSR, via me) gave donations, not of money but of
resources, to the NFSNET people because we thought it a project worth
supporting to support my own research interests.

Come to that, MS (*not* MSR but the parent company) distributed
{L,}GPL-licensed software.  I know that SFU (Services for Unix) was so
distributed and that it included gcc amongst other packages. 
(Incidentally, I met the project manager for SFU.  She's a real smart
lass with a predominantly free software background).

MS' legal team have always insisted that their employees *must*
scrupulously abide by the license terms on any software used on company
business and distributed by the company.   I had a meeting with the
local lawyers and a subsequent email exchange with them over my NFSNET
work, for instance.


(*) Note to the humourless blah blah blah.  
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