OT: GPL Question
jeremiah.foster at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 11:33:50 UTC 2005
Andy Green wrote:
> | Personally, I find the GPL to be pretty clear, and viral, in that any
> GPL'd stuff in a product makes the product GPL'd. That doesn't mean
> one can't
> | sell such products (Redhat does)
Not really. Red Hat sells licenses and support for their products which
in turn are based on GPL'd code.
> all it means is that one must also give
> | away the source code and the rights to use the source code for any
> | the GPL permits (thus, others can also sell it or give it away).
> | Generally, one should not have any GPL'd code in a commercial
> product, and
> Wrong advice. The GPL says NOTHING about "commercial products". You
> can have an entirely GPL'd "commercial product" perfectly fine, and so
> long as you take care with the boundaries, you can mix and match GPL and
> proprietary code in the same "commercial product" no problem.
As long as you release the end result as GPL'd code.
> | there aren't any cute disclaimers or licensing or distribution
> tricks that
> | will let one evade the GPL, and it is at best a waste of money to pay a
> | lawyer for such tricks.
> Just follow what the GPL asks for and you'll be fine. If your sources
> *link to GPL stuff at compile-time*, you should GPL your sources or get
> a proprietary license from the copyright holder: this is the viral case.
Not should - must. Using GPL'd libraries forces your new binary to be
GPL'd otherwise you are violating the terms of the license.
> ~ If you simply execute a GPL'd app in your proprietary product, you only
> need to provide matching sources for the GPL'd part and can keep the
> rest of your product proprietary. Same goes for if you insert a
> proprietary kernel module into Linux - the GPL does not leak through the
> module API and into your sources, which can remain private if you choose.
No. Simply inserting a proprietary kernel module into the kernel does
not make the entire kernel proprietary. Exactly the opposite - it makes
the module GPL'd when you distribute the new kernel which has to be
under the GPL.
The interaction of Free Software with unfree software is tricky. You do
not have to make your fancy php module open source if you are running it
on Apache. But if you insert a program that uses a C library from GNU
your new program has to be GPL'd or you cannot distribute the new
program outside the rules laid out in the GPL.
> | Note that the LGPL is different, in that it is not viral; all you
> need to
> | distribute under the LGPL is the LGPL'd code you used. The GPL authors
> | don't like the LGPL for that reason. A few things are available under
> | licenses.
> That much is true. But to catch the 'virus' you have to "get initmate"
> with the GPL code. Displaying GPL'd icons is not enough.
If you use GPL'd icons, you may not take them and make them proprietary,
you have to release those icons as GPL licensed icons and allow access
to them accordingly.
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