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

Hi Guys,

I am sorry that I am following up on this dead thread I started long
ago [1], and which Francesco was kind to follow up to.

Now I've got another project to package and got the same issue, and I am
not clear if I have the right understanding of GPL-compatibility.

AFAIK it means that you can use GPL-compatible licensed project
within GPL-ed project, and not vise-versa! Am I correct?

And actually if I am reading it right, wikipedia says the same: 
"Many of the most common free software licenses, such as the original
MIT/X license, the BSD license (in its current 3-clause form), and the
LGPL, are "GPL-compatible". That is, their code can be combined with a
program under the GPL without conflict (the new combination would have
the GPL applied to the whole)."

so -- combination has to be GPLed!

If I am not right -- then Francesco is right and I can easily use GPLed
project (and don't even ask for LGPL) from anything which is

If I am right -- then I guess we might have quite a few packages in
debian already which would need a "closer look". And what could be a
possible work-around? double-licensing? search for exceptions from GPLed
project authors (release it under LGPL for use in a specific project

Thanks in advance!

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2008/04/msg00005.html

On Wed, 02 Apr 2008, Yaroslav Halchenko wrote:

> Dear Legal People,

> I am one of the developers of PyMVPA toolbox [1], which we currently
> distribute under MIT License. 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).

> 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.

> But do we have to double-license PyMVPA for people to be legally able to
> use shogun functionality within PyMVPA? or since we don't explicitly
> link to shogun, neither bundle it together we are ok? We don't want to
> switch to GPL completely since we don't want to limit MIT-compatible
> licensed software to absorb/use our (non-GPLed) code.

> If we do have to release it under GPL as well, would it be ok to
> distribute entire PyMVPA in a single package and just mention that some
> parts of PyMVPA (which make use of GPL) cannot be distributed/used under
> MIT license and are distributed solely under GPL?

> Thank you in advance for clarifications

> [1] http://pkg-exppsy.alioth.debian.org/pymvpa/
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