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Re: use of Python bindings to GPL library from within non-GPL Python toolkit

On Wed, 2 Apr 2008 14:20:23 -0400 Yaroslav Halchenko wrote:

> Dear Legal People,
> I am one of the developers of PyMVPA toolbox [1],

Interesting project.
Thanks for developing it as free software!  :)

> which we currently
> distribute under MIT License.

Which is better named "the Expat license", in order to avoid
ambiguities with other licenses that are called "MIT License" as well...

> It is written in Python and is actually a
> framework either to create scripts for the analysis or just perform
> analysis interactively within python (ipython) shell environment.
> Recently we decided to make use of shogun library inside of
> PyMVPA, which has python bindings available. Shogun is distributed
> under GPL (not LGPL).

No problems so far, since the Expat license is GPL-compatible.

> IIRC Python itself, since it is simply a programming language, is
> not limited in licensing terms to what libraries are allowed to be used
> (not shipped) within Python, thus it is ok to use shogun within Python.

Without even entering the linking-vs.-licensing technicalities, it is
OK either way, since the Expat license is compatible with the GNU GPL.

More knowledgeable people will explain whether using a GPLed library
through Python bindings creates any licensing compatibility
requirements (I tend to think it doesn't, since you do not distribute
any bit coming or derived from the library).  However the point is
moot, since the two licenses are compatible anyway! 

> But do we have to double-license PyMVPA for people to be legally able to
> use shogun functionality within PyMVPA?

You don't have to dual-license anything, since, even in the case you
have to comply with GPL requirements for "works based on the Program",
you only need to make sure your license is GPL-compatible, but the
Expat license is already GPL-compatible!

> or since we don't explicitly
> link to shogun, neither bundle it together we are ok?

You're probably OK for this reason too.
If this is the case, you're OK for two reasons!

> Thank you in advance for clarifications
> [1] http://pkg-exppsy.alioth.debian.org/pymvpa/

You're welcome, but please note my usual disclaimers:

 New! Version 0.6 available! What? See for yourself!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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