Symfony's views on the GPL

Jann Eike Kruse jannkruse at
Thu Sep 24 12:58:20 UTC 2015

On 24/09/15 11:53, Michael Kesper wrote:
> Hi All,
> Am 23.09.2015 um 18:06 schrieb Jann Eike Kruse:
> > I am not a lawyer, far as I understand, this is rather
> > irrelevant in this case:
> > A GPL-licensing of a web development framework has practically no
> > legal impact on the freedom of choice of license of the developed
> > web application, since the framework is not part of the "object
> > code" of the developed web application, but rather a separable and
> > independent "system library" in the terms of the GPL text.
> I don't think so.
> Copyright does not know the concepts of "linking" or "object code" but
> only that of "derivative works".

You're right, let's talk about "derivative works".
Let's consider the following simplified, but very common and typical

Say, I have programmed one PHP script (myApp.php), which calls another
PHP script (gplSort.php) in order to sort some values in a database. I
put myApp.php and my COPYING.txt and gplSort.php and the GPLv3.txt in a
ZIP file and sell it on USB sticks as SuperMineTM.

Central questions: A) Is SuperMineTM a derivative work of gplSort.php?
B) Is SuperMineTM a bundle of two software packages "myApp" and "gplSort"?

Case A: myApp.php would have to be (when released to the public) under
the same (GPL) license as gplSort.php.
Case B: If myApp.php is considered to be a work independent from
gplSort.php - then the choice of licence is up to me.

I see that there are many people who are uncertain about such cases, and
possibly there are many people with different opinions on what is the
legal situation. Maybe it would be a nice idea, if we (FSF/E) would
develop a case-by-case guide for software developers to help them with
these things. Does something like that exist? Maybe in the FAQs?
It would be a pity, if developers choose to not use (A/L)GPL, only out
of confusion!


The above is a thought experiment to illustrate a common situation.
Personally, I would solve that problem by releasing SuperMineTM (if it
existed) under the GPL, of course! ;)

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