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Re: [Fwd: [Cvsnt] cvs + M$ Integration with VS IDE]

From: Tony Hoyle
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [Cvsnt] cvs + M$ Integration with VS IDE]
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 18:04:41 +0100

(CC'd to the FSF for some more informed comment)

Laine Stump wrote:
> The only real question is whether or not loadtime/runtime linking is
> considered "linking" for purposes of the GPL. Since it is acceptable,
> for example, to have a proprietary LKM that gets "linked" into the
> Linux kernel at boottime/runtime, I'd say that it looks like it *is*
> acceptable, but again, I'm not an authority on the intracacies of the
> GPL.

The linux kernel does not *depend* on any proprietary modules, and
ship with any.  In fact linking with binary-only modules is explicitly
unsupported.  This is of course the opposite situation, and there is a
very lively debate as to whether this is acceptable (until QT was
under the GPL where were some that said the whole of KDE was in
of the GPL). Personally I think where you link with a closed library to
a GPL program you are probably OK (even if it is a technical
violation).   This
is not the case here.  In this case a GPL program (CVS) has been linked
with a
closed-source program covered by a microsoft NDA.
> If you are calling a GPL'ed DLL, you are not incorporating that DLL
> into your program, you are merely calling it; almost exactly the same
> as if you were calling cvs.exe with system(). If this weren't
> acceptable, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD would all be in violation of
> the GPL, because they load and execute GPL'ed binaries. I'd venture to
> guess that the legality of those 3 OSes has been closely scrutinized,
> so again this looks like no problem.

The GPL explicitly allows linking with licenses freer than itself (BSD)
the BSD case is covered (and AFAIK BSD doesn't *link* with any GPL
All the important libraries are LGPL).

If the situation were as you describe, there would be nothing to stop
Microsoft from including GPL software inside their OS (which is made up
of many interconnected DLLs).  Personally I use the GPL on my software
prevent such misuse, and would be very upset if it occurred

The GPL covers 'derived works'.  The software in question is a derived
of CVS, and therefore *must* conform to the GPL or else not be
distributed.  There
isn't an argument about this.

You *can* get around it by executing the cvs binary externally and using
pipes to talk
to it, and I don't know why it wasn't done that way (I've long thought
the same about
WinCVS, actually).  This appears to be OK (otherwise you couldn't use
the NT command line
to execute a GPL program).


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