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Re: [Help-gsl] GPL violation?

From: Herman Bruyninckx
Subject: Re: [Help-gsl] GPL violation?
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 14:02:21 +0100 (CET)
User-agent: Alpine 2.00 (DEB 1167 2008-08-23)

On Wed, 9 Dec 2009, Johannes Buchner wrote:

I found a software package that uses the GSL, but is not licensed under
a OSS license.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but users of the GSL have to license
any code that uses the GSL -- links against it -- as GPL, right?
It is also my understanding that the GSL does not necessarily have to be
distributed itself.
Most of that packages code is Fortran, but one standalone C file/tool
uses GSL functions. There is no license statement. It is distributed as
source code, without containing a version of the GSL.

I contacted the author, but dispite citing the GSL website:
If I wanted to distribute an application which uses GSL, what license
would I need to use? The GNU General Public License (GPL).
and, the author
doesn't believe the software has to be GPL, because he/she is not
distributing code written by someone else.

I'd be glad to get some help for arguing (or maybe I'm wrong).

All depends on the interpretation of "derived work" (and this
interpretation can change from country to country...): if one piece of
software is developed independently of another one, one has a strong legal
argument. But all depends on the judges interpretation of "independent".
So, the traditional interpretation as you give is the cleanest, but also
the most extreme.


On a somewhat related note, can users of the GSL choose to make their
code GPLv2 if it is still compatible with the 'old' GSL versions that
didn't have GPLv3?

Best regards,

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