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Re: xcdroast does no longer work with wodim: Who to blame?

On Tue, 03 Mar 2009, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> The "OS exception" in the GPL just allows you to omit things like
> libc from "the complete source". The The "OS exception" in the GPL
> does not allow you to treat license compatibility between GPL code
> and "system libraries" different from license compatibility between
> GPL code and any other library that was created as a separate work.

Those of us who have been dealing with licensing issues for quite some
time are very familiar with the "major components of the operating
system" exception to GPL v2 §3 and the "System Libraries" exception of
GPL v3 §1.

> Eben Moglen replied:

> I told Mark and his colleagues that a past question raised on the
> debian-legal mailing list--whether an OpenSolaris distribution could
> combine GNU userland with Solaris kernel via OpenSolaris CDDL
> C-Library--was a non-issue, but that in the course of answering it
> Stallman realized that we would need to change the "system library"
> exception in GPLv3 to make the provision clearer. You are correct
> that the only question in combining CDDL system libraries with GPL'd
> code is what constitutes complete and corresponding source code, and
> nothing more. Mark's account of the conversation to you was
> confusing. .....
> As you see, Moglen sees no way to treat "libschily" different from
> "libc" on Solaris. Both are under CDDL and the FSF clearly confirms
> that it is perfectly legal to distribute binaries from GPLd programs
> compiled for OpenSolaris.

You're misconstruing the very narrow statement that Eben made into an
very broad statement. You asked him about GNU userland+kernel+CDDL,
and Eben is said that the combination of the GNU userland with a
Solaris kernel or CDDL'ed libc was a non-issue, because those *are*
System Libraries. He says this because they are not part of GNU
userland, but are commonly included with major components, such as the
kernel, X, etc, and implement a Standard Interface. By and large, I
agree with Eben in his interpretation of the GPL v2 and v3 here.

If you wanted to know about the combination of CDDL+GPLv2/3 as it
applies to cdrtools and libshilly as distributed by Debian, you should
have *asked* Eben a specific question about that. I imagine he would
have given you an answer similar to the following:

libschilly as distributed by Debian is not a System Library, because
it is part of the cdrtools work, does not implement a Standard
Interface, nor is it included in the normal form of packaging a Major
component, nor does it serve only to enable the use of the work with a
Major Component. The fact that Debian does not currently distribute
libschilly further indicates that it isn't a System Library. Thus,
libschilly is part of the Corresponding Source for the cdrtools, and
in order to distribute under GPL v3 §5, we must distribute the
Corresponding Source under the GPL v3 (or terms compatible with it)
which the CDDL is not.

If you are actually concerned about enabling[1] Debian to distribute
cdrtools, the path is clear: dual-license cdrtools and the libraries
it requires that are currently CDDL-only with the CDDL and the GPLv3.
If you're not willing to do this, that's definetly your choice, but
Debian won't be able to distribute cdrtools if you don't.

Don Armstrong

1: I should note that this doesn't mean that someone will actually do
the work to package cdrtools, but it at least would make it possible
for an interested maintainer to do so.
More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads.
One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness.
The other, to total extinction.
Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
 -- Woody Allen

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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