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Re: Obnoxious ad-clause strikes again.

On Mon, Jul 29, 2002 at 10:03:50PM +0200, Sunnanvind Fenderson wrote:
> I know some people who're thinking of moving their proprietary
> products to GPL instead, but they want to be able to link to some
> jakarta jar-files. (obnoxiously ad-clause-licensed, iirc)

> I suggested using the GPL with an exception clause (since the company
> is sole copyright holder of the software at the moment).

> b) Would they be allowed to link to real GPL stuff like the readline
> library?

> They wouldn't be able to include GPL-ed code in their GPL-ed (with
> exception) code, right?

Only the copyright holders of libreadline can grant a license exception
to link their code against GPL-incompatible code.  This likewise applies
to any other GPL code that they do not hold copyright for.

> This is sad and confusing.

> Does anyone have a solution? Iirc, RMS said that the KDE/QPL-problem
> would've been okay if the kde-team had explicitly given permission to
> link with QPL-ed stuff. Was he talking about an exception clause?


> This being written in java complicates things even more. They link to
> Suns standard java libraries, also.

Mmm, AFAIK the Java ABI is fairly well standardized; if the features
they need are also available from a GPL-compatible jre implementation,
then this should be technically indistinguishable from linking against
Sun's Java classes.

If their code can't be built against the free Java class
implementations, then it's definitely not possible for anyone to provide
binaries referencing other GPL code.  However, this is probably
secondary to the use of the GPL-incompatible Jakarta code.

Of course, they can allow others to do anything they want to allow with
/their/ software (including things not normally permitted under the GPL
if they grant a license exception).

ISTR that someone was working on a BSD-licensed reimplementation of
libreadline, btw.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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