[Beowulf] SPEC CPU 2006 released

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Sat Aug 26 05:53:04 PDT 2006

On Fri, 25 Aug 2006, Geoff Jacobs wrote:

> I should have been more specific and said that I do not believe any
> integrated benchmarks packaged and shipped by SPEC are in any WSOF Open
> Source or Free Software. Apparently some software included in SPECCpu
> 2006 is in fact licensed under the GPL, including sjeng. Possibly some
> other Free Software and OSS licenses are represented as well.
> To use the benchmark itself requires a license from SPEC.

Hmmm, GPL viral?

This raises a really "interesting" question about the depth at which
open source GPL code is embedded in a tool when the viral clause kicks
in.  As in, if I embed a GPL program (source) straight inside a calling
subroutine in a single program, there is no question that viral kicks in
and the resulting program must also be GPL.

So what about if I embed a GPL program inside a (say, perl or bash)
script that does PRECISELY the same thing that such a calling shell
might have done -- execute the GPL fragment, process the results,
present them, but now as a part of the NEW program's functionality.  Is
this not viral?  If it is a C program and I use perl through e.g. the
system commands instead of a C program inside a C wrapper with the
system commands, what's the real difference?

It would be very interesting to sic the FSF lawyers on the SPEC folks
and argue that by including GPL code in the suite, the suite wrapper
itself and all GPL code wrapped by the suite (in place) has become GPL,
period.  Perhaps it couldn't be extended to "infect" other commercial
components of the test suite, but they are basically replaceable by
cloned GPL code in many cases -- you won't get a perfect match but then
you wouldn't need one.  Just one that produced consistent results that
could be compared across architectures in a meaningful way.



Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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