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Re: Debian based GNU/Solaris: pilot program

Bill Gatliff <bgat@billgatliff.com> writes:

>>Bill Gatliff <bgat@billgatliff.com> writes:

>>> If application A is deployed as a standalone application built
>>> using the major components of the target operating system, a'la a
>>> Debian package, I don't have to provide source code for anything
>>> other than the application itself.
>> Wrong.

> Alright then, enlighten me.

Let us suppose that you have a GPLd application "foo" which links
against "libbar".

You can only distribute the binaries for foo under section 3 of the
GPL, which requires you to provide the complete source for libbar, and
you must do so providing all the freedoms that GPL sections 1 and 2
guarantee.  That is, you have to distribute libbar in source, and
libbar must have a GPL-compatible license.

You have one special exception: if libbar is BOTH:
  normally distributed together with the major components of the
    operating system AND
  not distributed along with your binary for foo,
then you are exempted from the requirement to provide the source for

You have replaced those two very specific requirements with your own
phrasing, which is different in some important cases.  You have
replaced the first clause ("anything normally distributed with the
major components of the operating system") with "using the major
components of the target operating system", not the same thing.  The
first condition of the special exception is broader than this: it does
not matter what the library is or does, provided it is shipped along
with the major components.

You have ommitted the second clause entirely, and it is this which is
most relevant here.

The special exception allows you to ship, for example, emacs binaries
linked against the proprietary HPUX libraries, provided HP distributes
those libraries along with the major components of HPUX (that is, they
cannot have unbundled them), and provided you are not shipping those
libraries yourself.  

This is specifically designed to prevent HP from including an emacs
binary which is linked against their libraries, shipping the whole
thing as part of HPUX, and not providing the source for their

> Allow me to restate, then.  Mere aggregation also allows GPL 
> applications to run under a non-GPL kernel.

Again, the mere fact that the GPL'd application and the non-GPLd
kernel are on the same CD does not, in itself, mean that the non-GPLd
kernel must be distributed under the terms of the GPL.  But that does
not negate clause 3 of the GPL in any way, which continues to apply,
even to all the associated interface definition files most crucially.


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