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GPL vs. Motif (was: MaintainerDatabase Copyright)

joost witteveen wrote:

> An executable built from several source files, some of which
> are GPL, and others have whatever licence Motif has, is distributable
> (just as Lyx, Motif-Emacs, Motif-Whatever are distributable).

I don't think this is the case.  The GPL is quite specific about this.
I'll quote the entire paragraph about source code; pay special
attention to the last sentence:

The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it.  For an executable work, complete source
code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to
control compilation and installation of the executable.  However, as a
special exception, the source code distributed need not include
anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary
form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the
operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component
itself accompanies the executable.

The phrase "anything that is normally distributed with the major
components of the operating system on which the executable runs" has
become more vague over the years, especially with the profusion of
Linux distributions and increasing binary compatibility between
operating systems.  Still, it is pretty clear to me that in Debian's
case, "the operating system" is the one we distribute.  It is a matter
of observation that the Motif libraries are not normally distributed
with it.  Also, this is no accident but a direct result of Debian's

If we have packages that are GPL'ed, yet require the Motif libraries,
then I don't think we can distribute them.

Richard Braakman

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