Fw: Query about GNU-GPL

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at kemisten.nu
Wed Mar 23 20:26:06 UTC 2005

   >    For example, my package uses GNU Bison and I include a Bison
   >    input file in my sources.  If I choose, I can distribute Bison
   >    with my package, since its license permits me to do so.
   > You are confusing "derived" and a compilation, which this would
   > be.  It is the same thing as distributing a GPL program on a CD
   > with a non-free program.

   My point was that using and/or distributing it with my package
   would not combine them into a single package.

Depends on what you mean by using; linking is using, running the
program in question is also using.  The term "using" is to vauge here.

   > linking a non-free program with a GPL library is infact illegal.

   This is not the case I was discussing.  I was discussing the case
   of a free program linking with an unfree library.

Then I misunderstood you, in that case it depends on the non-free
library; it could quite well restrict programs to link to it that do
not fall under a special license (similary how the GPL does it).

   > Since the non-free program will become part of (derived work) the
   > library and vice versa!

   A program that includes a library does not become part of the
   library, but the text at
   http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation seems to
   indicate that the library becomes part of the program.  I don't
   entirely agree with this interpretation, and would check with the
   FSF if it ever became relevant for me.

You lost me here, which part of my sentence do you not agree with, and
which part do you not agree with the interpretation of the FSF?

   However, I have no plans to ever link free code that I write with
   unfree libraries.

Neither do I. :-)

   > Think what happens when the C preprocessor does its magic, and
   > you will see why,

   I don't understand your point.  (I don't find CPP particularly
   magical, myself.)

The end result will contain GPL code + non-free code since cpp
includes both in the end result, and since the GPL mandates that the
whole work must be licensed under the GPL.  If this was legal, then
you could jump around the GPL just by doing #include "gpled-code.c".

As for cpp being magical, that wasn't what I said... "does its magic"
means "does whatever it usually does with all the directives etc etc

   >    I am pretty certain that merely linking to a library does not
   >    give the owners of that library any rights over my code.  I am
   >    also pretty certain that linking two packages, in the literal
   >    sense of using a linker to generate a file of object code,
   >    does not unite the packages in a legal sense.
   > Sorry, but you are wrong on both accounts.  See the GPL FAQ for
   > the offical answer.

   I think these entries support my point of view, but I really
   recommend asking at the FSF to be sure before actually distributing

I fail to see how those URLs supports your view.  You are using the
code from the library, it is the same as using someone else code, so
the copyright holder can infact tell you what you can or cannot do
with the code you use.  Ditto for linking.

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