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Re: GPL question

From: Nicholas R. Markham
Subject: Re: GPL question
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 11:23:43 -0500
User-agent: Pan/ (As She Crawled Across the Table)

On Wed, 16 Mar 2005 00:23:34 -0500, Barry Margolin wrote:

> In article <x54qfcqz94.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <>
> wrote:
>> It all depends on what "part of a larger package means" whether your
>> program and the package form an aggregation or an inseparable whole. If
>> they are inseparable, but your program can work without the GSL even
>> when used as a part in the whole, you probably can just keep the GSL
>> out and don't distribute a complete combination of everything.
> Since he said that he's considering distributing the program on its own
> without the rest of the package, I think it's pretty clear that his
> program can be used independently of the package.

The rest of the package does not, strictly speaking, depend on the program
I'm considering GPLing; it could certainly be used without that program.
However, I'm not sure I could make the reverse claim, that the program
could be used without the rest of the package.  Nothing would prevent it
from compiling or running, but since it uses as input files that are
output by some of the other programs, it wouldn't be able to do much.

Am I correct in thinking that it's really the first part that matters
anyway?  If the package depended on the program and the program depended
on the GSL, then the package would depend on the GSL and have to be GPLed.
But, the fact that the program depends both on the GSL and on the rest of
the package doesn't matter, does it?  (Dependence is transitive but not
symmetric, I guess.)

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