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> I would like an important question answered:  Is
> the Lua license compatible with the GPL?  (I know 
> the GPL is not well liked on this list, but I 
> hope not to prompt another round of bashing.)  It 
> would be a simple question to answer if Lua was 
> under a standard license.  Having the FSF 
> acknowledge Lua as free software does not shed 
> light on things.

The last time I asked about the Lua license, I was confused over why
some people seemed to care so much about the issue.  A few people
responded to me, explaining why they cared.  And as I read their
responses, I noticed a consistent theme.

Someone used the example of a software distribution incorporating Lua.
With a standard license, any ambiguity on if Lua could be distributed is
answered.  Someone else used the example of making Lua a generic
dynamically linked library for any application.  Apparently that
specific case isn't explicitly addressed by the Lua license, and so a
standard license would address that ambiguity as well.

So what a standard license really appears to provide is a means to know
if one can use Lua without asking for permission from the Lua authors.
Is that a good thing?  Maybe I'm nutty, but when I find something
ambiguous, I ask.  When I considered putting Lua into a commercial
embedded embedded Ethernet switch, I wasn't 100% sure if I could.  So I
wrote to Luiz.  I explained what I wanted to do, asked if he had any
concerns, and in just a few hours had the response.

If Lua had a standard license, I wouldn't have had to write to the Lua
authors.  Again, is that a good thing?  It's my understanding that
funding for continuing development on Lua is based in part on how much
interest there is in Lua to the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de
Janeiro.  By writing to the Lua authors, I told them about yet another
use of Lua in the world, which they could use to justify future funding
for Lua.  That helps them, and it helps the larger Lua community.

So what's the real concern here (in opposition to a theoretical
concern)?  Are you intending to use Lua in a way that doesn't already cover?  I'm sure the
Lua authors would love to hear about it.

I guess I should expose my bias.  I think most licenses are stupid.  I'm
not a lawyer.  I'm a programmer, and if I want to use someone else's
work in my code, I'm not going to waste my time pretending that I
understand the sometimes subtle turns of phrase that lawyers use in
those licenses.  Instead, I'm going to go to the source, tell them what
I want, and see if they say it is okay.  If they have any concerns or
questions, they can write back and ask.  Otherwise, they'll probably say
"okay" and I'm good to go.