License change for ghostscript

Chris Adams cmadams at
Wed Aug 5 22:32:50 UTC 2009

Once upon a time, Tom spot Callaway <tcallawa at> said:
> On 08/05/2009 02:38 PM, Jussi Lehtola wrote:
> >Apropos, what's the license in case a GPL package links against OpenSSL?
> >GPL with exceptions or what? Or is it even allowed?
> So, in this specific case, I'm still arguing with Red Hat Legal, and we 
> have not determined our final stance.

This brings up something I've wondered: if you program to an API where
there are multiple implementations, is your program a derived work of
one of them, the other, or both?

A specific example is OpenSSL and GnuTLS (the OpenSSL compatibility
library).  The APIs provided are compatible, so how can changing a link
option from "-lssl -lcrypto" to "-lgnutls-openssl -lgnutls" change the
license I must use?

This gets even more confusing (to me anyway) when you look at libraries
that are ABI compatible (IIRC LessTif vs. Motif).  It is't an issue too
much with LessTif, since it is licensed under LGPL, but what if it was
GPL?  Would swapping out the libraries make a program a derived work of
LessTif (and thus fall under the GPL)?

Chris Adams <cmadams at>
Systems and Network Administrator - HiWAAY Internet Services
I don't speak for anybody but myself - that's enough trouble.

More information about the devel mailing list