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Re: Linking against OpenSSL

On Thu, May 23, 2002 at 04:10:35PM +0200, Stefan Schwandter wrote:
> If you want to package a GPL'ed program that links against OpenSSL and
> distribute it in debian, the upstream author has to permit that, like in
> the fetchmail-ssl package.

That is correct.  Also, if the GPL'ed program also links against a
separate GPL'ed library, the upstream author of that library has to
permit it.

In other words, if GPL'ed app A links against OpenSSL and GNU readline,
you need permission from both the copyright holder of "A" and from the
Free Software Foundation to link with OpenSSL.

> What about the packages that don't mention such a permission in the
> copyright file (I think lynx-ssl and links-ssl are examples), are they
> "illegal"? Or does software in non-US don't have this restriction?

They are not illegal, however it is unwise for Debian to ship such
packages.  The GPL does not restrict people from linking GPL'ed software
against GPL-incompatible software in the privacy of one's own home, but
it does restrict people from distributing the linked result (whether the
linking is static or dynamic is immaterial).

Therefore, Debian cannot ship binary packages that have this problem.
If we do, we might possibly subject ourselves to accusations of
contributory infringment of copyright by the copyright holders of the
GPL'ed work(s).

Please do not use the word "illegal" in conjunction with copyright.
Until fairly recently, when draconian laws bought by rent-seeking media
corporations were shoved through Congress, it was impossible to be in
violation of criminal law by infringing copyrights.  Copyright
infringement is a tort, not a crime.  Moreover, copyright is not a
"right" at all, but a special privilege granted by the State for a
specific purpose.  (At least that's the theory in the U.S.

G. Branden Robinson                |     Suffer before God and ye shall be
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     redeemed.  God loves us, so He
branden@debian.org                 |     makes us suffer Christianity.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Aaron Dunsmore

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