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Re: Plugins, libraries, licenses and Debian

mru@kth.se (Måns Rullgård) writes:

> bts@alum.mit.edu (Brian T. Sniffen) writes:
>>>>>>> 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
>>>>>>> GPL-incompatible).
>>>>>> If you want a simply answer, the answer is: "No (insert disclaimers
>>>>>> here)" as others have pointed out.
>>>>> As someone said, writing is always allowed, it's distribution that's
>>>>> restricted.
>>>> That's not quite what I said, and has a critical difference.  I said
>>>> writing *the plugin itself* is allowed.  Writing the combined work of
>>>> the framework, the OpenSSL-using-plugin, and the Readline-using-plugin
>>>> is not allowed by the GPL.
>>> If that's the case, we should put the entire KDE development team in
>>> jail.  KDE is licensed under GPL, and uses both GPL stuff and OpenSSL.
>>> It also uses Java and Netscape plugins, which are very much non-free.
>> Why would we put them in jail?  They haven't done anything criminal.
> When I run Konqueror to visit secure sites, both QT (which I obtained
> under the GPL) and OpenSSL are loaded in the same address space, which
> is enough to create a derived work, according to the FSF.  You said
> yourself that even writing code capable of doing this was illegal.

I certainly did not.  "emacs ~/src/qt/* ~/src/openssl/*" loads all
that code in the same address space, but is not illegal.  I said that
creating a single work which does that probably violates the license
of the GPL'd code.

I don't know the details of who writes the SSL support for Konq or how
it's done, nor do I have any machines with Konqueror on them in front
of me right now, so I can't comment on that.

>> KDE is also manifestly not a single work: I use konquerer but no other
>> part of it, for example.
> Any typical use of my program would use only a few of the available
> plugins.  What's the difference?

That you're making a single work which benefits from the generosity of
the authors who released their code under the GPL, but don't seem
willing to abide by the rules they set for derivation from their code.

>> The KDE folks have, from what I've seen, been quite careful with
>> licensing issues.
> In case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to be, too.

You seem to be looking for a way to do what you want while claiming
it's within the bounds the authors set.

>> Can you provide any specific examples of single works incorporating
>> pure-GPL work and linking against OpenSSL?
> KDE is distributed as a few huge tar files, obviously intended to be
> used together.  Someone said that was enough to make the GPL apply to
> all of it.

Who?  Where?  That looks much more like "mere aggregation" to me.

>>>> Ask yourself this: is what you're doing in compliance with the wishes
>>>> of the authors of the various pieces of software you're using?
>>> I don't know what the authors wish, I'll have to ask them.
>> They've told you in the license.
> They haven't told me their intent with choosing that particular
> license.

That's not *what* they want you to do, that's *why* they want what
they want.


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