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

On Fri, 2003-05-23 at 09:52, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
> Anthony DeRobertis <asd@suespammers.org> writes:
> > On Wed, 2003-05-21 at 11:59, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
> >
> >> I don't.  If it makes use of features specific to the GNU version, it
> >> should either use the "normally part of your OS" exception, or if
> >> distributed with GNU grep be itself available under the GNU GPL.
> >
> > So every script that Debian distributes that makes use of features only
> > found in GPL tools must be under the GPL (since Debian can't use the
> > normal part of OS exception).
> >
> > Let's take a concrete example: apache-ssl. In particular, it's postint.
> > It uses "adduser", which is under the GPL. It also uses update-rc.d,
> > also under the GPL. So, as above, we have to say the postinst is
> > available under the GPL. However, it also uses
> > /usr/sbin/ssl-certificate, which uses OpenSSL. It is well-known that the
> > GPL and the OpenSSL license are not compatible.
> >
> > Is the above legal? If so, why? 
> I'm not a lawyer -- but I think distribution of apache-ssl.postinst
> must be distributed under the terms of the GPL.  As such, it can't be
> distributed by others without an OpenSSL exception or a license which
> grants a superset of the freedoms of the GPL.

I'm surprised no one else has jumped on this yet.

No.  The script in question is a derivative of both OpenSSL and of
adduser, and the author of the script has no legal standing to relicense
either of those.  Thus, no script which uses both OpenSSL and adduser
may be distributed by anyone under any terms, because it would "link"
OpenSSL with adduser, and they are under incompatible terms.  Even
though the script itself may offer an exception for OpenSSL, adduser
doesn't have that exception, and thus, the work as a whole is

Wait.  Isn't dpkg under the GPL?  Now everything on the entire system
has to be under the GPL, because you can't even get it installed without
the use of dpkg.

The other option, of course, is that the kernel exec() function *is* a
barrier, Debian *can* be used for real work and not just an exercise in
ivory-tower masturbation.  
Stephen Ryan                                        Debian Linux 3.0
Technology Coordinator
Center for Educational Outcomes
at Dartmouth College

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