hypothetical(?) GPL problem

Alessandro Rubini rubini at gnu.org
Wed Jun 20 13:04:47 UTC 2001

I am not a lawyer, but I fear the situation descrbed is not against
the GPL. But I'll let you discuss on that, I really don't know.

> As far as I remember, a library should be put under the LGPL and not the
> GPL. Because putting the lib under the GPL would restrict the freedom to use
> it, as you point out. Thus the LGPL was designed to allow such a use. Anyone
> knows more details?


That proves you wrong.

> Well, I would say, that it is already against the spirit of free software to
> publish a library under the GPL and not the LGPL.


<quote from web page>
Which license is best for a given library is a matter of strategy,
and it depends on the details of the situation. At present, most GNU
libraries are covered by the Library GPL, and that means we are using
only one of these two strategies, neglecting the other. So we are now
seeking more libraries to release under the ordinary GPL.

Proprietary software developers have the advantage of money; free
software developers need to make advantages for each other. Using the
ordinary GPL for a library gives free software developers an advantage
over proprietary developers: a library that they can use, while
proprietary developers cannot use it.

Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every library. There
are reasons that can make it better to use the Library GPL in certain
cases. The most common case is when a free library's features are
readily available for proprietary software through other alternative
libraries. In that case, the library cannot give free software any
particular advantage, so it is better to use the Library GPL for that

This is why we used the Library GPL for the GNU C library. After all,
there are plenty of other C libraries; using the GPL for ours would
have driven proprietary software developers to use another--no problem
for them, only for us.

However, when a library provides a significant unique capability, like
GNU Readline, that's a horse of a different color. The Readline
library implements input editing and history for interactive programs,
and that's a facility not generally available elsewhere. Releasing it
under the GPL and limiting its use to free programs gives our
community a real boost. At least one application program is free
software today specifically because that was necessary for using

</quote from web page>

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