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Re: Is libreludedb DFSG compliant?

Ken Arromdee wrote:
On Wed, 4 Jan 2006, Marco Franzen wrote:

What if I don't want to link it? I may want to
- just publish (parts of) the source code (or (of) a modified version)
- modify it into something that isn't a library and publish the source
- paste code fragments into an embedded/free-standing application
 (which does not link against anything, not even libc),
 maybe with some modifications to fit the new environment
- copy code fragments into documentation

Couldn't you just link it with something, putting it under the terms of the
GPL, then unlink it, whereupon it's still under the terms of the GPL, then use
it as above?

As I tried to say two paragraphs later, in order to link it it needs to
compile first, and you cannot make changes to get it to compile before
you have a license.

OK, if you are lucky and it compiles for you without changes, you could
take the GNU GPLv2 grant for your throw-away linking, remove the trigger
condition and re-publish it under plain GNU GPLv2 for the rest of the

However, there would still be some risk that they (or their successor in
copyright) sue you for violation of their copyright, claiming that
their "If" meant "As long" rather than "Once". That it was not a
trigger for a GNU GPLv2 grant but a grant of a modified license,
namely the licence that results when you add their linking condition
to the GNU GPLv2.

This "so-modified-GPL" would not only be GNU-GPLv2 incompatible,
but with this particular condition (IMHO) non-free:

1. It would /require/ linking against /some/ other code that is
licensed both GNU-GPLv2 compatibly (to satisfy the added restriction)
and so-modified-GPLv2 compatibly (so /its/ licensing allows this
linking - the GNU GPLv2 itself does not).

2. It would /forbid/ linking against /any/ code that is /not/ licensed
both GNU-GPLv2 compatibly and so-modified-GPL compatibly.

The code linked against could for example be dually licensed GNU GPLv2
and so-modified GPL, or it could be under a single liberal licence.

(Each of these two requirements would be non-free, IMHO. Having to link,
as argued in the quoted paragraph. Having to licence your contributions
more liberally than the original software would fail DFSG#3.)

But I doubt they really mean any of that silliness. It might be possible
to convince them to give a simple GNU GPLv2 grant. It might actually
be what they meant to do in the first place. Some clarification seems
necessary in any case.


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