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Re: Clarification about the octave-gpcl licensing conditions

On 10-Nov-2006, Rafael Laboissiere wrote:

| This is possible thanks to the changes made in the R licensing terms. From
| the announcement of the change (2001-Feb-05):
|     It came to our attention that some projects are interpreting GPL to
|     mean that compiling against the header files or linking against a
|     Windows import library brings the compiled code under the scope of
|     GPL.  This would mean it would be impossible to distribute binary
|     versions of non-GPL packages with compiled code which called entry
|     points in the R executable or DLL, of which there are many on CRAN.
|     We encourage packages to be distributed under Open Source conditions,
|     but accept that this is not possible for some contributions.  Our
|     intention is that export files and import libraries be `accessors'
|     under clause 5 of the LGPL, so that in most cases no (additional)
|     restrictions are imposed by compiling a package using the LGPL-ed
|     components of R.
|     To avoid any anomalies, the versions of the same files in R versions
|     1.0.0 to 1.2.1 may also be used under LGPL or GPL.

My reading of this is that the R group thinks that it is possible to
insert an LGPL layer in between software released under the terms of
the GPL and software released under terms that would be incompatible
with the GPL, and that makes everything OK.  I'm not sure that this is
a valid way to avoid the terms of the GPL since once the entire
program is linked together, the GPL-incompatible bits are linked with
the GPL parts, and the GPL requires that it must be possible to
distribute the whole program under terms compatible with the GPL.
But, IANAL, so if you really want to pursue this, it might be best to
ask the FSF.

| The two libraries mentioned above are great and are "free" enough, besides
| the infamous "non-commercial applications" clause.  I sincerely think that
| the upstream authors are confused, but we must understand their motivation
| for imposing this licensing constraint.

Unfortunately, an additional restriction such as this is still an
additional restriction, and that is not allowed by the GPL.  The GPL
attempts to protect all users, not just those who wish to use the
software for non-commercial purposes.


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