GPL really free was Re: [Fsfe-ie] 1-page letter, faxes at the ready (IFSO, irish org)

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Mon Sep 29 02:43:16 CEST 2003

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On 28 Sep 2003 at 16:20, David Golden wrote:

> On Sat 27 Sep 2003 18:44, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > For example I personally would say that proprietary code can use a
> > GPL library if it's in a DLL and no GPL code found its way into the
> > proprietary binary so long as the proprietary work is a work in its
> > own right.
> IANAL, TDNCLA, blah blah.
>  That in "its own right" is the kicker, really.

What are these acronyms?

> AFAIK, there's definite doubt over whether the AFC test is generally
> valid or just constitutes a *possible* procedure for determining
> derivation. AFC testing (not really a "test" as a software developer
> used to concrete yes-or-no testing would understand it, more of a set
> of guidelines for best practices for doing a similarity assessment,
> AFAIK) would be a proposal that might be made in a particular case for
> reaching resolution - it would be a foolish court indeed that just
> accepted a pre-prepared AFC analysis by one or the other party. who
> would of course cherry-pick the (essentially near-arbitrary, IMHO)
> choices for abstraction and filtration to their advantage, all that
> sort of thing would have to be agreed between both parties.

I completely agree. But courts will follow precident, so we're likely 
lumped with it.

Anyway, its interpretation as you rightly point out below is 
extremely variable. It looks to me more of a chance thing than a real 

> There's certainly a (valid, IMHO, on reading the GPL, but again IANAL)
> position that consideration of derivation alone is *simply not enough*
> to decide the applicability of the GPL, and intent would have to be
> considered.

For example, how can you illustrate than running a binary and loading 
a shared library are different? Both page in an executable image as a 
memory mapped file. Both involve calling into the binary and it 
calling outside of itself. Both provide services to outside code and 
both page in other binaries (libraries) and call them too.


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