[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPL question

From: Mike Cox
Subject: Re: GPL question
Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 17:44:25 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Oct 12, 5:37 pm, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra <> wrote:
> On Fri, Oct 12, 2007 at 06:03:03AM -0700, Mike Cox wrote:
> > I am still confused. Does mere linking make the result realy
> > *contain* code from a GPL program?
> Most rational people consider it so, but you seem to want legal advice
> so I hope you follow the sane reasoning of taking the license to a
> lawyer and obtain a binding legal opinion.

We're not at that stage yet but of course are going to have a lawyer
look at it at some later time.

Question is, what is the difference between

(1) calling a function in a GPL shared library

(2) running an external GPL program and parsing its output

Upon further investigation, (1) could be illegal but (2) may be
not, but what is the difference?

In a previous reply, rjack says that according to copyright law (1)
is legal too "unless contractually prohibited" but he also seems to
think the GPL is not a contract so no prohibition is possible.
Confusion arises again.

> > How come they are allowed to do that but I am not?
> Are you sure they didn't get a proprietary license from the authors?

My engineer thinks that's unlikely for a number of reasons...
(sorry for picking on afformentioned project again, nothing
personal, it's just the first result on my research list)

(1) afformentioned project is free for personal use.

(2) afformentioned project comes with 'windent', a gui'fied
version of GNU indent 1.10.0 (says so right there in its main
window, "This is adaption of Indent 1.10.0, Copyright GNU."),
yet no source code available; plus it's distributed as part of
a proprietary project.

(3) afformentioned project's runtime contains a function named
'edit_distance()' that, according to runtime docs, is released
under GPL terms, and goes on,
|    The source code is distributed in the lcc directory,
|   "\lcc\src\editdistance" as required by this license.
i.e., runtime is closed source, only sources for GPL part are
provided. With a proprietary license, this surely wouldn't be
necessary, but under GPL the whole library must be GPL, right?

Also from talking to other people, what this boils down to is the
GPL is way too complicated for average to advanced programmers
to understand; I'm not even sure I myself understand it completely
at this time.

> It could also be the case that they haven't been caught yet...

Possibly, just like a dozen other such projects I found during
my research. But most probably aren't knowingly violating the
GPL, it's just the GPL is way too complicated.

So let me rephrase my initial question, "If I do get caught, what
are the consequences. Are there any?"

> > Again, is mere dynamic linking the same as "incorporating GPL-covered
> > software"?
> You seem say it's "mere" as if it isn't anything important, are you a
> programmer or someone trying to circunvent the nice license?

I'm just trying to understand the difference between dynamic linking
and, say, running an external program and talking to it via some sort
of IPC mechanism.

Mike Cox (the_real_mike_cox)

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]