[OT] The GPL and possible violations
temlakos at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 16:00:38 UTC 2006
Don Bedsole wrote:
> Ok, I have to admit, I have not been playing close attention to this
> discussion, but what I have seen has raised a question for me. I would like
> a clarification. Do I, as an end user have the right to install non-GPL
> software (e.g. RealPlayer) on my Linux box if it links to GPL software? Can
> I install non-GPL software which links to anything it wants to on my
> computer? Is it legal for non-GPL software distributors (RealPlayer, et. al)
> to furnish software to me which links to GPL software? Wouldn't it only be a
> problem if I were to somehow redistribute the non-GPL--GPL software
> combination? In other words, can non-GPL distributors (again RealPlayer for
> example), give me whatever software they want to, which links to whatever it
> wants to, as long as I, the end-user, do not distribute the resulting
> GPL-non--GPL combination? Thank you.
I had always thought that you /are/ permitted to install non-GPL
software on your own box, even if it links to GPL software. Indeed, the
/Lesser/ or /Library/ GPL specifically permits you to /link/ to publicly
licensed libraries, so long as you do not try to /modify/ those
libraries and then claim ownership over them.
Then again, the GPL maintainers are under no obligation to respect
backward compatibility of a non-GPL application. The commercial vendor
thus must accept the responsibility of rebuilding his program when
But you may not /distribute/ a GPL/non-GPL package.
This is why Fedora /never/ distributes with MP3 libraries or
applications. You have to get them separately from another repository,
if you want to play something in that format. And I assume that most
people here would advise you never to /rip/ to MP3, but rather stick to
Ogg-Vorbis or other GPL sound format.
If I have misconstrued any of the above, I welcome any correction.
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