[Mono-list] The viral license problem (was System.CodeDom.Compiler licensing issues)

Brad Wilson dotnetguy@pobox.com
Thu, 23 May 2002 12:59:19 -0600

James Michael DuPont wrote:

> I bet you they would say that the System.CodeDOM.* should all be only
> available under the GPL.

> The FSF might say that you should not support the CodeDOM at all. This is
> the exact same type of problem that I have with then introspector project.

Yes, there's a much larger problem here that hasn't been addressed.

As a software author, I may not be consciously targeting Mono. After all,
one of the driving forces behind Mono is to be able to run code that was
written for Microsoft's .NET implementation unchanged. What if I write code
that calls CodeDOM? You can't force me to release my code under GPL, just
because some end user plugged my code into Mono instead of MS .NET.

In general, releasing libraries under GPL is a big problem when those
libraries are hooked together at runtime instead of compile time, and are
intended to replace a library released under a non-GPL license. You can't
realistically prove that the author intended it to be used with your GPL'd

When people say that the GPL license is "viral", this is precisely the
problem they mean.


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