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Re: System libraries and the GPLv2

On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 10:27:46AM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> On the other hand, when a larger upstream project
> granted us a linking exception for OpenSSL, they probably did not
> obtain consent from all the copyright holders, either.

Right. For example, I remember one case where a Debian developer
contacted Red Hat to ask that Red Hat include an explicit OpenSSL
linking exception, for some GPL-licensed project maintained by Red
Hat. They did not inquire into the actual state of copyright ownership
of the GPL code in question or attempt to identify and contact
individual copyright owners AFAIK.

It just shows you that everyone is making simplifying assumptions.

> What really annoys me about this whole situation is this: I think no
> one presently argues that the GPLv2 prevents people from distributing
> pre-built binaries for proprietary operating systems.  I can take
> Hotspot (a component of OpenJDK which is GPLv2-only), compile it with
> Microsoft Visual Studio, and distribute the result.  But I suddenly
> can't ship pre-built binaries, as a free software distribution,
> because I happen to have upgraded the system compiler past GCC 4.2,
> thus got the new GPLv3+ license for libgcc, and can't link GPLv2-only
> Hotspot against that anymore.  This can't be right, can it?

One of the general approaches I take to GPL and LGPL interpretation is
that, in cases of textual ambiguity, results that are absurd from a
policy perspective (for example, interpretations that privilege
proprietary software over free software) should normally be treated as


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