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Re: GPL Code calling non GPL code

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL Code calling non GPL code
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2005 01:54:46 +0200

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> John Hasler wrote: ...

In the meantime, a message (paid advice) from the GNU Republic.


We paid the FSF to have them provide us these answers. So these 
answers are verified correct by people like FSF lawyer and law 
professor Eben Moglen.

Question: Can someone for example distribute 

1. GStreamer, the LGPL library 
2. Totem, a GPL playback application 
3. The binary-only Sorenson decoder 

together in one distribution/operating system ? 

If not, what needs to be changed to make this possible ? 

Answer: This would be a problem, because the GStreamer and Totem 
licenses would forbid it. In order to link GStreamer to Totem, you 
need to use section 3 of the LGPL to convert GStreamer to GPL. The 
GPL version of GStreamer forbids linking to the Sorenson decoder. 
Anyway, the Totem GPL license forbids this. 

If the authors of Totem want to permit this, we have an exception 
for them: the controlled interface exception from the FAQ. The 
idea of this is that you can't get around the GPL just by including 
a LGPL bit in the middle. 

Question: Suppose Apple wants to write a binary-only proprietary 
plugin for GStreamer to decode Sorenson video, which will be shipped 
stand-alone, not part of a package like in the question above. Can 
Apple distribute this binary-only plugin ? 

Answer: Yes, modulo certain reverse engineering requirements in 
section 6 of the LGPL. 


So even when shipped stand-alone it does fall under LGPL's reverse 
engineering requirements.



Question: If a program released under the GPL uses a library that 
is LGPL, and this library can dlopen plug-ins during runtime, what 
are the requirements for the licenses of a plug-in ?

Answer: You may not distribute the plug-in with the GPL application. 
Distributing the plug-in alone, with the knowledge that it will be 
used primarily by GPL software is a bit of an edge case. We will not 
advise you that it would be safe to do so, but we also will not 
advise you that it would be absolutely forbidden.


or may be not, I gather. Motto is "be afraid."

How SCOish.


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