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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

On Thu, Jan 03, 2002 at 11:21:19AM +0100, Bram Moolenaar wrote:
> > Alright, I'll file this.  Bram, you might want to check out any other
> > libraries Vim optionally links agaist.  (This is another, completely
> > different reason to make your license GPL-compatible.)
> I don't think that is my task.  Perhaps it's just a problem for you,
> since you do the compiling.

If your license is GPL-incompatible, then linking it against a GPL
library is illegal.  Would you be liable for this if you never
distributed any binaries linked against it?  That's a question for the
others; my suspicion would be yes.

If the answer to that question is yes, then another one: is there any
problem with distributing GPL-incompatible *source* that links against a
GPL library?  In other words, if the Debian vim packages are recompiled
without gpm support, is Debian in the clear?

> Anyway, I can't see how the GPL intentionally forbids compiling a
> library with it.

You can't link a GPL-incompatible program (closed source, or any that
have more restrictions than the GPL) to a GPL-licensed program.

I'm not sure of the reasoning; I think it's along the line of thought that
you're reusing GPL code by linking a shared library just as much as you
would be by copying the source and not modifying it; the only difference is
the mechanism.

(I'm not sure how it works when there's less restrictions; I suspect the
extra GPL restrictions are inhereted, but I'm not sure.)

> That wouldn't be "free".

Opinion varies on this (in a sense, I agree), but that doesn't change
what people can and can't do with the program.  We can argue about why
and should, but I believe this restriction is well-established.  (In
fact, I believe it's the reason for the existance of the LGPL.)

You'll no sooner get a consensus on this then you will on the GNU/Linux
debate. :)

> No, I'm not in debian-legal.

At least one message you were dropped from (he may have forwarded this
to you):

(Hell iteslf awakens when someone copies to Bran instead of Bram ...)

Glenn Maynard

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