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Re: using GPL api to be used in a properietary software

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: using GPL api to be used in a properietary software
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 00:56:11 +0100

On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 18:59:23 +0100
David Kastrup <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels <> writes:
> > Tell me to respect the wishes of the author, and I'm all with you,
> > even if these wishes seem - at first sight - rather outlandish.  But
> > this lunatic fight to get the scope of copyright extended, by
> > exactly those people who originally wanted to abolish all forms of
> > copyright, is one of the saddest quixotic battles I know of.
> You don't get it.  The FSF is not fighting for the laws that give the
> GPL teeth.  But while this insanity prevails, nothing is gained by
> pretending it isn't.

Have you stopped to think about the implications of having dynamic
linking (where, remember, nothing more than a number of references to a
library are contained in the compiled code) legally equated with
producing a derivative work? It would be tantamount to declaring all
source code derivative works of the OS. What's the difference between a
function call in source code, and its compiled counterpart?

OK, the GPL didn't take dynamic linking into account in its strategy,
and the effect of GPL'ing libraries was less than expected. But then
stubbornly pursuing a strategy that, when successful, would be an
effective strengthening of the restrictions the copyright statutes
already impose, shifting the balance even further towards the large
corporates, can only lead to a Pyrrhic victory.

> If you want no defense against people unilaterally taking your work
> and turning it as proprietary as the laws allow, use the BSD licences.

> The explicit and expressed purpose of the GPL is to make the code it
> covers not be subvertible in this manner.

The use of a GPLed library doesn't subvert the code. It fails to
extend the GPL to the program, but the whole take of the FSF on
"user does the linking" is merely sour grapes (doesn't the GPL itself
not say that it doesn't limit the user from using the program?).

> People that are clamoring against the consequences of the GPL are
> clamoring against the consequences of copyright laws.  Lobby for
> weakening the copyright laws, and the GPL will lose its teeth along
> with the other licences.
> I'd certainly welcome a world where "derivative work" lawsuits were
> not, in court, repeatedly and decidedly enforced even for trivial
> cases akin to linking.

If you refer to deep HTML linking, then certainly clamouring that
you believe it to be equally true for dynamic linking [because that
would allow you to thwart those nasty developers of non-Free software
who freeload off GPLed libraries (not that there are many, given that
most library developers would like their code to be used)] isn't going
to contribute to putting an end to that situation.

> But the ongoing practice does not support Alexander's fantasies.  And
> as long as it doesn't, nothing is gained by pretenting that the GPL
> should in some manner have less validity than other licences.

This isn't about Alexander. This is about risking to get judgements
that will throttle any and all independent software developers even
more effectively than the current hideous patent initiative of the
Council and the European Commission. 

You wanna write an app for our OS? Ask our permission first. Thank you.

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 

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