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



On Wed, May 07, 2003 at 01:12:09PM -0400, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> On Wednesday, May 7, 2003, at 01:50 AM, Branden Robinson wrote:
> 
> >Or are you wanting to restrict the problem domain to cases where an
> >interface innovated in a GPLed library hasn't been cloned yet?
> 
> Given:
> 	1) Library GPLLib is under the GPL
> 	2) Perl module Iface provides an interface to various implementations
> 	   of similar features, and the user selects which implementation to
>         use
> 	3) Perl modules PM uses GPLLib to implement Iface
> 	4) Perl program P is under a GPL-incompatible license
> 
> Question:
>     Is is permissible for P to use PM through Iface?

I would say yes, and I think that 2) is the critical issue.

Without 2), this procedure looks like an effort to create a Perl module
Iface which is a shim to let other programs P make themselves infrining
derivatives of GPLLib.

But with 2), this procedure looks like an effort to create an
abstraction layer Iface, which is a shim to let other programs P
interoperate with a de-facto standard.  Programs P cannot *necessarily*
be derivative works of GPLLlib in this scenario, and therefore such
programs are not *necessarily* infringing of the GNU GPL at the time
they are distributed.

This is my opinion, and I cannot claim to speak for the FSF, but the
above sounds exactly like the libreadline/libeditline situation to me,
and to my knowledge the FSF has never gone after people who *weren't*
using libreadline-as-libreadline with a GPL-incompatible application.
NcFTP is an example of a program that did just that, according to the
FSF.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |       The software said it required
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       Windows 3.1 or better, so I
branden@debian.org                 |       installed Linux.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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