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Re: linking to GPL'd libraries WAS Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Scripsit lloyder@canada.com

> If a library's interface is implemented to a standard or similar,
> than someone linking to a GPL library version should be alright, no?

This and related questions have been the subject of long and tedious
flamewars on debian-legal, complete with

a) Discussions about where the line ought to be drawn between
   incorporating a GPL'ed program and simply using it, from actually
   pasting source code between .c files, over several technical
   variations of linking, to system(3) calls and even weirder tricks.

b) Discussions about which, if any, difference it ought to make that
   the GPL'ed program implements an interface for which alternative
   implementations exist (respectively, can be imagined).

c) Discussions about which ways the answers to (a) and (b) ought to
   be rationalized with legal theory.

d) All and any of the above, with "ought to" replaced with "is
   actually at present, in the opinion of the courts of this and that
   specific jurisdiction".

e) Silly clueless people who cannot distinguish properly between the
   "is" and the "ought" subthreads.

f) Universal agreement that such silly clueless people take part in
   the discussions; equally universal disagreement about who they are.

g) Car analogies. (Yeah, and literature analogies, too.)

h) As a matter of course, utter lack of eventual consensus.

You'll find it all in the list archives.

Luckily nobody seems to be much inclined to restart the flamewars just
now, but if you insist on trying nevertheless, please at least do us
the favor of going to the archives and read the past incarnations to
make reasonably sure that whatever you feel like contributing is
actually *new* and not just a reiteration of arguments that are known
empirically to move nobody's opinion.

Henning Makholm                   "The great secret, known to internists and
                         learned early in marriage by internists' wives, but
               still hidden from the general public, is that most things get
         better by themselves. Most things, in fact, are better by morning."

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