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Re: [Firebird-devel] Warning: readline is GPL - incompatible with MPL

Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 11:45:32AM -0600, Joe Moore wrote:
>> Steve Langasek wrote:
>> > On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 08:53:18AM -0600, Joe Moore wrote:
>> >> Steve Langasek wrote:
>> >> > Users do not violate the GPL: the GPL does not govern use of a
>> >> > program.
>> >> >  But it would be illegal for Debian to *ship* a version of
>> >> >  FireBird
>> >> > that uses libreadline.
>> >> On further research,
>> >> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfLibraryIsGPL seems to
>> >> imply that linking a program to a GPL library (even for personal
>> >> use) means the program must be GPL.
>> >> This seems like a contradiction.
>> > I've noticed that the FSF's GPL FAQ does a rather embarrassing job
>> > of distinguishing between use and distribution/modification. 
>> > Section 0 of the GPL says:
>> >   Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are
>> >   not covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act
>> >   of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the
>> >   Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on
>> >   the
>> >   Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
>> > This clearly trumps anything that might be in the GPL FAQ.
>> And section 4 says:
>>   You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
>>   except  as expressly provided under this License.
>> Since there is no express permission to modify (and _not_ distribute),
>> this modification would not be allowed, right?  So the user can't
>> modify his own copy for personal use, without following all of section
>> 2's requirements? (2a-prominant notice and 2c-changed interactive
>> message.  2b is satisfied)
> So far, we aren't doing anything that requires making modifications to
> the GPL library; all the proposed modifications have been to the
> application, which is not only not GPLed, it's also GPL-incompatible. 
> If a user were to make modifications to a local copy of the library,
> then yes, it would have to be done in a way that complies with the
> terms of the GPL.

The specific example of FireBird was a program (GPL-incompatible license,
but modifications are allowed --
http://firebird.sourceforge.net/index.php?op=doc&id=ipl) linked with GNU
Readline (GPL).

So the user, exercising his right to modify FireBird, makes the 1-line
change (replace -leditline with -lreadline) to use GNU Readline.  He never
distributes his modified FireBird++, but is in violation of the GPL in the
privacy of his $HOME?


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