Re: Bug #189164: libdbd-mysql-perl uses GPL lib, may be used byGPL-incompatible apps
On Saturday, May 24, 2003, at 03:51 PM, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
Anthony DeRobertis then said:
At some point, we've got to draw a line where it's de-clawed. After
all, I think we all agree that if a shell script calls GNU grep, it
isn't required to be under the GPL.
This does not affect legal issue beyond programming to the interface.
If, for example, including header files is required to program to the
interface, the header files must be public domain or X11/BSD-style
licensed (since they're included in the program code when compiled) to
allow inclusion in proprietary software.
I'm not sure if you're thinking of this when mentioning "public
domain", but many header files (for example, ones giving simple structs
and numeric defines) probably have no copyrightable work in them, and
thus would be essentially in the public domain. So, using those is
fine, no matter what the copyright notice says.
Writing a script specifically for
undocumented features of "bash" would impose bash's GPL requirements,
at least on the distribution of the combination of the script and
I must disagree with you here, and apparently even the FSF would! The
FSF considers shell scripts as just data to an interpreter, though
warns against linking external modules to the script.
I point out Lotus v. Borland and note that the commands used by the
shell script are the same as used by a human, and thus are a method of
operation, not protected by copyright.
Using a secret interface is effectively
making use of the original program's source code to make a derived
Except if it is a human interface, which under Lotus v. Borland can't
be copyrighted. Note that Lotus v. Borland even included arguments
about a macro interpreter.
So in regards to "declawing", this makes a *non-arbitrary* distinction,
Not really. You essentially said that if I, as the author of a non-GPL
program that wants to use a GPL'd work says "I need a program doing
foo, bar, and baz to work, such as GNU frob" instead of saying "I need
GNU frob to work" I'm fine. That's a rather pointless distinction,
It's a matter of whether the linkage is integral to the
program, or not. Admittedly the distinction must be applied carefully
on a case-by-case basis, but that's often what makes good law.
I'd say its a matter of if the linkage causes program B to rely on
copyrighted elements of program A, then there could be infringement.
But I can at least agree that the border cases require careful
 See <0E0C4999-8EFE-11D7-AAB4-00039317863E@suespammers.org> for full