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Re: GPL and command-line libraries

Henning Makholm (with my emphasis):
> If library L provides to program P an well-defined generic service
> with a simple black-box interface, and it is provided in a way that is
> essentially independent that the client is P rather than an unrelated
> program Q, then I think it is very hard to argue that the source code
> for P is derived from L (and similarly for compiled versions of P that
> do not include a statically linked L).
> [...]
> But that does mean that your library provides a generic black-box
> service, which makes is *unlikely* that you cound succesfully argue in
> court that the source code for the application is derived from your
> work.

Actually, I've never heard the FSF claim that the _source_code_ of a
program using a (black-box) library is derived from the library. What
it claims is that the executable is derived from both, and the authors
of either part have their say in choosing distribution terms.

OTOH, I agree that source code for a program that deeply depends on
the internal structure of a specific library might be considered a
derived work of that library. But I don't think this point really
matters here.

But yes, I agree there is a vast gray area between what is
clearly derived and what is clearly not.


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