Posted Feb 16, 2006 10:15 UTC (Thu) by hummassa
In reply to: GPL and linking
Parent article: On the dual-license model
There is no "GPL linking clause".
I defy anyone to find anywhere in the license text of the GPL that
mentions "linking". Even the "incorporating" in the non-normative last
paragraphs is absolutely incorrect. I have explained, than complained,
then ranted, and now when I look at myself talking about this, I *know* I
look like a drooling madman.
I'll try to calm down and explain (again):
1. The FSF GPL FAQ is the only semi-authoritative place where it's said
that you can't link, either statically or dynamically, your
GPL-incompatible-licensed program with a GPL'd library.
2. The argument used to uphold the forementioned FAQ opinion is weak. The
problem is that the GPLv2 has an error in its content, in the following
segment of clause #0:
""" The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work
based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work
under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a
portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated
Let's analyze it.
a "work based on the program"
is "the program or a derivative work under copyright law";
that is to say (== explaining) "a work containing the program or a portion
of it (...)"
==> which is blatantly false!!! This is not the definition of "a
derivative work under copyright law".
3. As the GPL states in its clause #0, next paragraph:
""" Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of
running the Program is not restricted (...) """
It is, at the very least, least implicitly allowing the distribution of a
GPL-incompatible-licensed program that links DYNAMICALLY with a
separately-distributed GPL'd library: because the GPL will not restrict
"the act of running the program" (where the "program" is in fact the
4. IOW#1: The GPL has a serious error in its formulation on clause #0 and
one of the stuff they should do is correct it for the v3.
5. IOW#2: For all practical LEGAL terms, license a library under the GPL
is very similar to license it under the LGPL (Derivative works of the
library must still have their source distributed -- to whomever one
distributes as binary -- etc., ie, must be GPL'd also, but a "using
program" does not /per/ /se/ has this requirement)
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