is it a GPL violation or not ?

Jerome Alet alet at
Fri Aug 23 23:19:52 UTC 2002


I know I will certainely look stupid for asking the very same 
question I've asked some months ago (April 11th), which was answered 
by several persons here, but in fact I hadn't read carefully a 
software license which seems problematic to me : 

I've coded a library which I distribute under the GNU GPL.

Someone made a software which uses my library, and distributes his 
software WITHOUT my library which has to be downloaded separately.

I thought rightfully that the other software's license was BSD, and 
someone on this list answered me that this is OK to do so, since GPL 
and BSD are compatible licenses, so they don't have to put their 
software under the GNU GPL. 

But today I've read their license again, and now I'm puzzled.

Their license reads :

  This software is Copyright (c) 2001 XXXXXX. All Rights Reserved.
  Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and 
  its documentation for educational, research and non-profit purposes, 
  without fee, and without a written agreement is hereby granted, 
  provided that the above copyright notice, this paragraph and the 
  following three paragraphs appear in all copies. 

  Permission to incorporate this software into commercial products may 
  be obtained by contacting YYYYYY

Their license doesn't end here but the rest is the end of the standard 
BSD license, i.e. the uppercased "disclaimer of warranties".

The "normal" BSD license says "for any purpose" instead of 
"for educational, research and non-profit purposes", and doesn't 
include a special offer for commercial licensing.

This license doesn't seem to be completely free to me.
So considering that this software uses my library, doesn't work
without my library, but is not distributed with my library which has
to be downloaded separately, is distributing their software under this
license a possible GPL violation or not ? Last time I've understood that
they can distribute each individual part of their own software under
any license they want provided that my library isn't used in those parts.

It seems that the GPL FAQ entry at :

clearly says so.

The more I read this FAQ, the more I think they should license their
software under the GPL.

NB : Their tarball doesn't contain any license at all, nowhere, the
     license I'm talking about is only on their software's web site.

Sorry again if I'm looking stupid, but as we say 
here : "le ridicule ne tue pas"
Thanks in advance  

PS : more info privately upon request

Jerome Alet

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