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Re: GPL question

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL question
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 17:33:48 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Nicholas R. Markham" <> writes:

> 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.)

It really sounds as if the whole situation would be pretty much
unproblematic.  I can't see that the rest of the package could be
called a derivative work of the GPLed part in any sense of the word.
The other way round is quite different, but that's a problem of the
other program's licences then.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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