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

Daniel Carrera dcarrera@math.toronto.edu
Thu, 23 May 2002 15:19:28 -0400 (EDT)

Yes, but the GPL is not any more "viral" than a license from Microsoft
which limits your ability to use their code (e.g. their shared source

This is why the GPL is almost never used for libraries.  Under Linux,
libraries are usually LGPL or X11.  That way linking is allowed.

Indeed, the FSF recommends that you *not* use the GPL for libraries unless
you are writing a library that has unique functionality, and you want to
give an advantage to free software (that's from their website).

I can't think of a single library that has this GPL problem you describe.

Also, even if you do really breach the GPL (say that you copy GPL code) ,
your code isn't GPL'd automatically.  No one can do that.  Rather, there
is a conflict that has to be resolved.  One solution is to simply remove
the GPL code (yes, in the case of linking the issue is more difficult, but
that's precisely why people DON'T release libraries under the GPL).


On Thu, 23 May 2002, Brad Wilson wrote:

> 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
> library.
> When people say that the GPL license is "viral", this is precisely the
> problem they mean.
> Brad
> --
> Read my web log at http://www.quality.nu/dotnetguy/
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