GMP license problem, anyone?

Bill Hart goodwillhart at
Sat May 31 04:07:36 CEST 2008

Yes, tightly controlling code can lead to high quality code. I concede
that point. GMP code is also some of the most carefully written,
efficient, uniform and well written code I have seen.

I am truly thankful for your outstanding contributions in this regard.
I think I also made this point before.

It's clear I had some misconceptions about you. I truly thought the
SWOX press release was for real, for example. It hadn't occurred to me
it was a joke. I see clearly that the second press release is a joke.
I don't recall if I saw it before or not.

As for the rest, well I think it is time we all just got on and did
our work. Let's put the whole thing to one side. We've both had some
things to say about each other and it is time to call a truce and see
how we can best get on with the business of benefitting the
mathematical and computational communities.

It is my fervent hope that our two projects can be complementary and
that our project can fill a niche, just as yours does. The reason I
replied to the licensing question in the first place was because I
hoped for the freer flow of code and ideas between the two projects.

Here is the exchange that started it all:

Michael Abshoff to our development list:

Hi guys,

The following just popped up on the gmp mailing list. The email looks
legitimate, I edited the email address to prevent spam.




-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     GMP license problem, anyone?
Date:     Wed, 28 May 2008 16:33:04 +0200
From:     Torbjorn Granlund <SNIP at>
To:     gmp-discuss at

We switched from LGPL 2.1 to LGPL 3 between GMP 4.2.1 and 4.2.2.

Did that cause any compatibility concerns for a project you know
about, or are directly involved in?  Have the problems been solved, or
are they still relevant?

[Please reply to the list, not just to me.]



And my reply to our development list:

This is good news. Perhaps Torbjorn will switch back to 4.2.1.

That would be awesome, as we could then remain compatible with all
future releases of GMP (if we are careful).


Just to clarify, I meant perhaps you would switch back to the license
used in 4.2.1. My reasoning for why you might do that seems to have
been based on a whole pile of misconceptions. How unfortunate that the
whole thing got blown up the way it did.

But my original sentiment still stands. I would like to see the two
projects complement each other. It is also not a fork in the usual
sense, in that it involves two groups of people, not originally
contributing to the same code base. It isn't a split of an existing
community. Notte that our official proaganda still says that we hope
for excellent scientific relations with you and the GMP project. That
hasn't changed.

I wish you and GMP the best of success!


On 31/05/2008, Torbjorn Granlund <tg at> wrote:
> "Bill Hart" <goodwillhart at> writes:
>   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,
> I hope people make the conclusions of what my view on what I write,
>  not on your distorted claims.
>  A slight misrepresentation of an opponent's opinions is a common but
>  ugly rhetoric trick.  But you go beyond that; you misrepresent my
>  opinions beyond all recognition.
>  I am not talking on wheather Peter Montgomery actually contributed
>  code to GMP-ECM or not.  That is quite irrelevant.
>  You seem desperate to find ways of attacking me.  If it is not some
>  secret deals with this or that company (horrible!), I charge steep
>  fees for merging my own patches (whatever that means, but it sounds
>  truly horrible), and I clearly censor the GMP lists, etc, etc, etc.
>  Bill Hart, you should be really ashamed of yourself.  Nobody has the
>  right to spread the sort of lies about somebody that you are spreading
>  about me.  You may dislike how I manage GMP, but that doesn't give you
>  any right to behave like you do.
>  On the various SAGE mailing lists, your accusations stand
>  unchallenged.  People are not unlikely to believe you.
>  What is behind it all?  Well, GMP is a very high-quality library, that
>  seem fairly uncontroversial.  You and your buddies think my way of
>  managing it suck.  But I stand firm in believing that this is a good
>  way of producing a quality library.  And since people seem to agree
>  that GMP is really good, people that think I manage it poorly since
>  long, must simply conclude that poor management leads to quality code.
>  --
>  Torbjörn

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