GPL link against non-free in original work (Re: Isn't a kde version..)
Mark Rafn wrote:
> On the gripping hand, if the owner of the copyright for abiword (which may
> not be a well-defined entity if significant contributions have been made
> by multiple people under GPL) chooses to link against restricted libs,
> that's fine and dandy, as permission to do so is granted, by definition,
> to oneself. This hybrid can't go in Debian (unless its released under a
> different license than GPL), but nobody has broken any laws.
I don't want to start a flame war here... so let's be careful.
In your above example, the _hydrid_ would be created and
distributed by the owner of the copyright, and it still couldn't
go into Debian. Right?
It's a little weird to me. If the upstream author links against
Qt or XForms and releases under the GPL, doesn't that nullify
whatever GPL clause against that? For example, take lyx in
instable (I know people disagree with me on this interpretation).
It's under the GPL and links against XForms. It doesn't have an
exception clause, but rather `remarks' clarifying the license:
While LyX has been released nominally under the GPL in the past, it
has in fact never been truly GPL. Particularly, it has always been
linked to a closed source library. While some have taken a view that
such actions violate the GPL, this is a legal impossibility. The law
is quite clear that the release of the software by the original authors
and copyright holders changed the licenses.
Rather than leaving the issue to be debated, the following
clarifications are given. This is *not* a change of license, but a
clarification of the license that LyX has always used. All patches
submitted to LyX fall under this same license.
So, Debian might be happy because they have clarified that
linking against XForms is okay. But, am I to conclude that
Debian doesn't agree with their argument that while they were
using the GPL without clarification they were still okay
license-wise because they were doing the linking in original
work? (i.e. it's not a derived work of some other GPL work).
Any original work linked against Qt or XForms that is GPLed
cannot be redistributed by Debian, even if the linking was an
obvious intent of the copyright owner. Right?
This matters to me before of three such packages with an MIA
upstream author. I mentioned this problem to the author earlier
and he didn't see a problem since he was doing the linking
upstream, so it was implied to be okay. Then a discussion on
debian-devel ended up by saying it was okay too, so I told the
upstream author that is was okay and that ended that. Now the
packages are in danger of being removed. Would adding the email
from the copyright holder be enough of a clarification?