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Re: GPL/LGPL confusion

On Mon, Jul 02, 2001 at 02:33:12AM -0500, Ben Burton wrote:
> Hi.. thank you both for your replies.  Unfortunately the two responses gave 
> opposite answers, so I'm no less confused, but at least I'm feeling a little 
> less embarrassed about my confusion now :).

The GPL requires derived works of GPLed software to be distributed
under the GPL. But it only becomes a "derived work" when it gets linked.

So, if you're just distributing source code, you can distribute it under
whatever license you like; but if you're distributing executables, you
need to distribute them under the GPL.

So, for your library, you're effectively distributing it under the GPL
for normal use, but you've allowed other people to rip out any parts
that may be independent of the underlying GPLed library, and reuse them
with non-free/non-GPL software under the terms of the LGPL if they want.

Basically, you can only safely link GPLed and GPL compatible software
together, and the result ends up being just GPLed. OTOH, you can always
do this.

GPL-compatible licenses include anything which basically allows
relicensing under the terms of the GPL. So "public domain", "You can
use and modifiy and distribute modified or unmodified copies, without
restriction", LGPL and GPL licenses are all fine, pretty much.

AIUI, IANAL, IANrms, etc.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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