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Re: Linking clause deleted from GNAT GPL

Maybe this subject was discussed before, but I'd like some
clarification. The GNU Ada compiler (GNAT) from FSF is distributed
under GPL with this special linking exception:

"As a special exception, if other files instantiate generics from this
unit, or you link this unit with other files to produce an executable,
this unit does not by itself cause the resulting executable to be
covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not
however invalidate any other reasons why the executable file might be
covered by the GNU Public License."

But in the latest GNAT version distributed by AdaCore, this clause was
deleted in all library source files, therefore forcing all executables
to be covered by GPL. The question is: did AdaCore have the right to
remove this clause? Since FSF owns the copyright of GCC, this is not
obvious to me.

This is actually fairly subtle. The clause continues to apply to GCC *from the FSF*. Now, AdaCore's release may actually be the FSF release *plus* some bits which are copyright AdaCore. In that case, AdaCore has the right to release *their bits* under the pure GPL, without exception clause.

If AdaCore hasn't added any bits to the library source files, then they can't remove the clause. If they have added their own copyrighted bits to a source file, then they can remove the clause for that file.

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