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Re: Bug#189164: libdbd-mysql-perl uses GPL lib, may be used by GPL-incompatible apps

On Mon, Apr 28, 2003 at 05:58:15PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Any chance you'd care to comment on the underlying question of whether
> Debian should or should not accede to the FSF's claim that GPL
> modules for interpreted languages demand GPL scripts?  I believe Anthony
> and I are at an impasse; we simply disagree on the relative weight that
> should be given to various factors involved here, so no consensus is
> likely to be forthcoming between the two of us.

I've been away from the list for a few days, but using Mutt to limit the
message view to subjects including the string "interp" reveals no
messages I haven't already read.  I recall a message from you referring
to the GPL FAQ which confusingly talks about whether people can "run"
GPL-incompatible scripts with a GPLed interpreter, which only serves to
cloud the issue since "The act of running the Program is not

Is it any help to cite the libreadline/libeditline case?  Readline is a
GPLed library authored by the FSF.  Editline is a BSD-licensed clone
(with a limited feature set) developed by people who weren't happy with
Readline's licensing.

Because the two libraries are interface-compatible, the FSF is not in a
position to forbid people from distributing code that "links" against
libreadline if that code is not licensed GPL-compatibly, because the
code could be linked against libeditline instead.[1]

(Incidentally, there appear to be at least *two* clones of Readline in

libedit-dev - BSD editline and history libraries (development files)
libedit2 - BSD editline and history libraries
libeditline-dev - Line editing library similar to readline - developer files
libeditline0 - Line editing library similar to readline - runtime

So, following this reasoning, if there is a GNU BASIC interpreter
licensed under the GPL, this does not mean that Debian cannot distribute
GPL-incompatible BASIC programs in packages, because there are other
BASIC interpreters in Debian that are more liberally licensed.

Or are you wanting to restrict the problem domain to cases where an
interface innovated in a GPLed library hasn't been cloned yet?

G. Branden Robinson                |    The first thing the communists do
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    when they take over a country is to
branden@debian.org                 |    outlaw cockfighting.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Oklahoma State Senator John Monks

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