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Re: GPL question [Was: Re: cdrtools]

On Friday 11 August 2006 18:10 pm, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> I believe that the totaly interchangable option of specifying
> "-static" or not should not change the free-ness of the source or
> resulting binary. So if you link static and you agree that it is a
> violation that way then you should not be able to get away with it by
> linking dynamically.
> The GPL is viral in nature and specificaly made to work across linking
> boundaries. People should not be able to add non-free portitons to the
> source by hiding them in libraries.

I agree, but then "should" and "is" sometimes disagree.

But after thinking about it some more, I believe a dynamically linked binary 
together with the corresponding shared libraries should be considered as a 
distribution method for the complete program that gets assembled in a common 
address space.  Consider for example the case of EvilCo, back before dynamic 
linking was widespread, trying to use a GPL'd library in their non-free 
program.  They try to get around the GPL by distributing their compiled 
program code in a single .o file in a "mere aggregate" along with the GPL 
library .a file, and ask users to link the program themselves.  This is 
obviously bogus; they've just created an alternate means of distribution of 
the resulting binary, and so the binary itself must be distributable under 
the terms of the GPL, which it isn't.  And the case of a dynamically linked 
executable with shared libraries is almost exactly the same as this scenario, 
only it's the system dynamic linker doing the work instead of the user doing 
it manually.

Anyway, as somebody else pointed out, this is off-topic for debian-devel, and 
I apologize.  Please direct any replies to debian-legal (too bad kmail 
doesn't let me set Followup-To afaik).
Daniel Schepler

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