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Re: System libraries and the GPLv2

Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez wrote:
> On 26/03/17 01:01, Walter Landry wrote:
> > Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:
> >>> #5 Declare GMP to be a system library.
> >>>
> >> (snip)
> >>
> >>> #5 was how Fedora looked at the OpenSSL library issue. Since Debian
> >>> has another viewpoint on OpenSSL I somehow doubt we would use it for
> >>> GMP.
> >>
> >> I would like to suggest to treat more libraries as eligible for the
> >> system library exception within Debian.
> > 
> > The traditional interpretation as I understand it is that nothing
> > Debian ships qualifies for the the system exception.  This is because
> > Debian ships everything together, and the system exception only
> > applies for components that do not accompany the executable.
> > 
> Debian ships everything together? Really?
> Then why we need repositories and apt-get at all?
> I think that any package that is essential for the base OS
> (aka Priority: required) should qualify for the system exception.

The literal text of the GPLv2 would not allow that:

> 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.

Emphasis on "unless that component itself accompanies the executable".

The intention of the system library exception is to allow third parties to ship Free Software on proprietary platforms, while pointedly *disallowing* the vendor of the proprietary platform from doing so.  As historical precedent, note that some vendors explicitly provided entirely separate media containing GNU applications, in order to satisfy that requirement.

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