Haskell Platform Proposal: HLint

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at googlemail.com
Fri Nov 12 11:48:47 EST 2010

On 12 November 2010 12:56, Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 12/11/2010 12:12, Duncan Coutts wrote:
>> Secondly, yes I agree that people tend not to care too deeply about
>> this. To play devil's advocate, if people don't really care then
>> instead of saying that means we must have an exception, perhaps that
>> means that we're ok to comply with the letter of the law but not the
>> spirit. It is a big hassle to work out wording for an exception and
>> get all license holders of each project to agree (I did it once with
>> Gtk2Hs and LGPL-2.0->2.1). If people do not actually care, why bother?
> Because while the authors might not care, potential users of the library
> might well care a lot.  Some of us have to get licenses past corporate
> lawyers, and they generally don't even agree about what the LGPL means.  The
> more of the LGPL we can exclude, the easier this process might be.
> Avoiding all this nonsense entirely is for some people by far the easiest
> option, though of course I recognise the right of authors to choose whatever
> licensing terms they want for their work.  I mainly want to ensure that
> there is a meaningful option for users who want or need to avoid the
> GPL/LGPL for whatever reasons.

Presumably you mean that users might need to re-review the LGPL in how
it applies to Haskell code when compiled by GHC, since we have
afterall been shipping GPL tools and LGPL C libs along with ghc for
some years. So the theory is that the corporate lawyers might re-OK it
for Haskell code if it's clear that the only place where Haskell might
be different there is an exemption anyway. On the other hand there's
the danger they'll grumble even more about license extensions written
by non-lawyers.

I know it's not trivial getting any open source code past corporate
layers. I've had to go through the process myself (BSD and LGPL C and
Haskell code). I've noted that our tools are not as good as they could
be, e.g. in collecting all the LICENSE files of all dependencies (I've
had to do it by hand). I'm sure that lots of us are regularly
violating the letter of the BSD license. Galois have been working on
some features to add to Cabal to help us all automate some of this
(we've done one round of patch-review so far).


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