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Re: Plugins, libraries, licenses and Debian

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> writes:

>> Then read the section "Can I use the GPL for a plug-in for a non-free
>> program?" in the GPL FAQ:
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLPluginsInNF
>> If there are any other interpretations of that section, please
>> enlighten me.
> When we see a plugin written under the GPL for a GPL-incompatible work,
> we have two choices:
> - Assume the author of the plugin was confused, and that the plugin
>   isn't even distributable, or
> - Assume that the author intends that the plugin have an implicit
>   exception for the gpl-incompatible work.
> We generally go with the latter, simply because it makes more sense.
> But that does have implications, namely that the plugin isn't actually
> under the GPL, but under a sort of GPL+exception hybrid license.  Which,
> in turn, means that it's not really GPL compatible -- GPL code from
> other sources and other authors can not be used with this "GPL" plugin.

What I'm trying to find out is, whether or not it's allowed to write a
plugin, using GPL,d libraries, for a program with MIT license, for
which there also exists plugins using OpenSSL (or anything

> That may (or may not) be what Steve Langasek was thinking.
> But as others have said, this is not a clear-cut area at all.  When we
> talk about whether it is or is not a problem we're theorizing on what a
> judge would decide were the case presented in court.  And that's risky
> business.  The important thing for us, as programmers, to keep in mind
> is that the intentions and thinking of the people involved is likely to
> be the deciding factor, not technical details of implementation.  In
> fact, things like whether there's a well-defined interface are generally
> only relevant because they suggest that the author of the code
> *intended* the work to be separate from the plugins.

While on the subject of intent, was it ever the intention of anyone to
disallow programs using both readline and OpenSSL?  Or did they just
happen to formulate their licenses in incompatible ways?

Måns Rullgård

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