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Re: GPL question

From: Mike Cox
Subject: Re: GPL question
Date: 17 Oct 2007 02:06:02 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Oct 14, 3:08 am, John Hasler <> wrote:
> Mike Cox writes:
> > 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.
> Rjack is a troll.  There is no point in trying to make sense of what he
> writes.

I'm new here; how am I supposed to know who is a troll and who
is not. Last time I was here he was not. To the naked eye he seems
to be very fluent in copyright law.

> > (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.
> Please identify the project so that the matter can be brought to the
> attention of the copyright owners.

Like I said upthread, the project is lcc-win32 / lcc-linux32,
availabe at


(1) Its runtime uses GPL code for its "edit_distance()" function, but
only provides source for this one function but not the entire library.
(says so in the docs that code for this function is provided to
comply with its license)
Does the GPL allow that? Can I do the same in my own project?

(2) Included in the distribution is a binary copy of gdbm. It appears
it is not otherwise used but is redistributed without source and
documented, but its GPLness is not otherwise mentioned. Is there a
problem here, and if yes, what is it?

(3) The linux version links with and distributes binary copies of
BFD. From previous replies I gather I can not do that in my projects?

(4) Also included in the win32 version is a program called
"windent", a version of GNU indent 1.10.0 with added GUI, but no
source code. This one is really confusing. GNU indent is derived
from some BSD licensed code, but also contains source files licensed
under GPL. That would make the whole work GPL, right? Yet in the
manual page it says it's a BSD license. But the COPYING file says
it's GPL.
Very confusing!!!
What is the real license here, and why? Are modified versions allowed?

> > 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.
> Some say there is none.  Others say there is.  Some of the latter own
> significant copyrights and have lawyers.  The issue has not yet been tested
> in court but you could be the first.

But before going to court, what *IS* the difference. Some say dynamic
linking started exactly like that, loading shared code as a separate
"process" and talking to it via some obscure mechanism. I hear some
of those are still in use today. So where do you draw the line?

Mike Cox (the_real_mike_cox)

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