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Re: [PEAR-QA] PHP License

Sean Kellogg <skellogg@u.washington.edu> writes:

> On Wednesday 24 August 2005 02:17 pm, Måns Rullgård wrote:
>> Sean Kellogg <skellogg@u.washington.edu> writes:
>> > On Wednesday 24 August 2005 01:46 pm, Catatonic Porpoise wrote:
>> >> Sean Kellogg wrote:
>> >> >I'm pretty sure it is a PHP-derivative.  It relies on all sorts of
>> >> > built in PHP functions to create the finished work.  Perhaps... 
>> >> > PERHAPS... the code you download for phpbb, on its own, MIGHT be a
>> >> > separate and distinct work, but it's not "phpbb" until it's merged
>> >> > with PHP functions to create the finished, derived work.
>> >>
>> >> I see a little problem with this line of reasoning. It would seem to
>> >> imply that if I post a C program I wrote on my website, in source code
>> >> form, that program is subject to the license of every libc anyone might
>> >> ever compile it with.
>> >
>> > I would think the code you post is just code.  You're free to post
>> > your own code as much as you like.  However, if I download that code
>> > and use it in conjunction with glibc, then yes, I must abide by the
>> > license chosen by the authors of glibc.  But it does raise an
>> > interesting question...
>> [...]
>> > But if we assume the developers of phpBB actually downloaded PHP,
>> > they agreed to not make derivative software with certain titles.
>> > Going back to the C example you raised...  the developer of the C
>> > program must abide by the terms of the libc he or she chose to
>> > develop with.
>> I build my code on a variety of systems, including Linux/glibc, *BSD,
>> Solaris, AIX, MacOSX, etc.  Does this mean that my programs are
>> derivatives of all these C libraries/compilers?
> Yeah, I believe so.

That's absurd.  In theory, I could write the code without access to
any of the libraries, only using the POSIX spec for reference.  The
result could be compiled and run on any POSIX compliant system (and
there are some).  Now in practice, I'll occasionally make a mistake,
so I need to test the code to make sure it works.  If this makes my
program a derivative of all these C libraries, I'm in real trouble,
since I have no license to create such derivatives of most of them.

> This is why glibc is under the LGPL.

No, the reason for that is that the FSF insists that using the GPL
would disallow non-GPL programs linking with it at all, and for
whatever reason they don't want that situation.

> It's really easy to create derived works under U.S. Law.
> As a side note, there is some really interesting unexplored areas of
> law relating to derivative works and things like dynamic vs. static
> linked libraries.  There is some case law, but I think it leaves a
> lot unanswered.


> For the purposes of this discussion, I'm supporting the popular
> contention that using a dynamically linked library creates a
> derivative work (although, I have my doubts).

The same logic applies here.  If the program can work with either of
several different libraries, it is not a derivative of any.  If it
were, we'd have the absurd situation of programs being derivatives of
libraries written after the program.  Clearly, this is not possible.

Måns Rullgård

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