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Re: System libraries and the GPLv2

Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez <clopez@igalia.com> writes:

> On 30/03/17 21:29, Don Armstrong wrote:
>> On Thu, 30 Mar 2017, Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez wrote:
>>> * License Must Not Contaminate _Other_ Software
>> A work which is a derivative work of another piece of software isn't
>> merely distributed alongside.
>>> Shipping a collection of software on a DVD doesn't make any of this
>>> pieces of software a derivative works one of the other.
>> Precisely. It only has bearing on whether the system library exception
>> to derivative works applies.
> It should apply.
> Fedora and RHEL ship also DVD images, and they do use this system
> exception clause of the GPL for linking with OpenSSL.

Perhaps they have decided to ignore the bit of the license that says:

  "unless that component itself accompanies the executable."

but I think it is more likely that they've had their lawyers look at
each particular case that they wanted to include in their distro, in
order to assess how realistic it is for there to be a problem with the
result, and how painful it will be to fix if there is a problem.

If we were to do a similar assessment, then we'd be asking the lawyers
different questions, because we also care about how likely it to cause a
problem for any of our downstreams (and their downstreams, etc.) or any
of the users.

RedHat are also in a position to offer indemnity against legal problems
caused by using their distribution, if they want to, whereas we can only
try to avoid the problem.

So, pointing at the fact that RedHat has on occasion decided to violate
the license in this way does nothing to prove that the violation does
not exist.

Nor does it make the exception to the exception go away, and we clearly
are causing the "component" and the "executable" to "accompany" one
another if installing a binary by whatever means causes OpenSSL to
automatically be installed because of the dependency.

I really doubt that any court of law will be particularly interested in
the mechanisms that achieve that effect, so it's not just a case of
making sure that the two things are not on the same DVD.

Cheers, Phil.

P.S. I am not a lawyer

P.P.S. Does anyone really expect a consensus to emerge where we decide
to ignore the exception to the exception across the board without
consulting lawyers?  I think there are several people in this thread
(myself included) that have demonstrated that they're going to argue
against such a consensus.  That being the case, it's not going to
happen, so repeating the same justifications for why there is no problem
does not seem even slightly productive to me.
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