Re: php5-xapian: PHP licence vs GPL
On Sat, 18 Apr 2009, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
> >> >I was under the impression that the FSF thinks that if it's illegal to
> >> >link a program with GPL software and distribute that, it's also
> >> >illegal if you
> >> >just distribute the other program and have the user do the link.
> >> HOW? I hope the FSF doesn't think this, because imho it is so sloppy
> >> legal thinking as to be incompetent!
> This talks about "static or dynamic linking". I don't actually see how
> it applies, because if it's statically linked it's a clear violation -
> the person distributing the program has to distribute the library as
> well. But if it's dynamically linked and the program - as distributed -
> merely EXPECTS to find the library on the target machine, I don't see
> any violation.
You don't, but the FSF does.
I'm well aware that their reasoning for this is somewhat fuzzy. But that's
exactly what they think. It's been their position for over a decade, even
though they don't make public pronouncements about it any more and just
about everyone not from the FSF thinks that it isn't true.
> >Eben Moglen: As when, for example, people tried to draw a line between
> >static linking and dynamic linking under GPL version two, and we had to
> >keep telling people that whatever the boundary of the work is under
> >copyright law, it doesn't depend upon whether resolution occurs at link
> >time or run time.
> This whole thing is a rather grey area, but I still stick by what I
> said. You may have noticed references to the "system library exception".
> Is that there as a valid exception, or because they're not sure whether
> it'll stick in court?
The GPL explicitly says that you're allowed to link with system libraries.
> At the end of the day, if the proprietary program does not contain any
> GPL code *as* *shipped*, I find it hard to see a "copyright violation"
> suit sticking. Who is violating the GPL? The FSF would like to say it's
> the proprietary vendor but ... (and it's certainly not the user, the GPL
> explicitly says they're in the clear).
The FSF thinks that a work which is designed to link with GPL code
is a derived work of that code and, therefore, would violate copyright when
distributed even if no lines of the code have been copied into it.