hypothetical(?) GPL problem

Marc Eberhard m.a.eberhard at aston.ac.uk
Wed Jun 20 13:15:35 UTC 2001

Hi John!

On Wed, Jun 20, 2001 at 01:59:24PM +0100, John Tapsell wrote:
> I think you may (or me) have misread what he's trying to say.  He was
> saying that in this way a company can get round the GPL on a library.  Not
> asking how to make it so they can legally and morally.

Yes, I got that point. But it seems to me, that libraries should be free to
use in the same way as free software. That does include using these programs
in a commercial environment and linking the library to a commercial program.
We are talking about freedom, aren't we?

Of course you can decide to disallow commercial software houses to use the
library and publish it under the GPL. I think, that the construction he
suggested is even more complicate than necessary. That's why I proposed an
even simpler one. If they would stand in a court, nobody knows. So probably
no company would take the risk.

However, it does not occur to me, that this is a problem with the GPL,
because I don't think, that the GPL was intended to be used for libraries.

> I don't think RMS would fully agree with you.. the only reason he made
> some libraries LGPL was because freely available versions already existed,
> so it would be no advantage to restrict it.

That's indeed the real question. I'm no expert in RMS's opinions, but I
understand the freedoms for software to include this case too. But I might
be wrong. Are you aware of any speech/document from RMS/FSF concernig the
LGPL and its recommended usage?


email: marc at greenie.net
email: m.a.eberhard at aston.ac.uk, web: http://www.aston.ac.uk/~eberhama/

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