[Mono-list] The license problem

Garrett Serack gserack@experientia.org
Fri, 24 May 2002 07:29:47 -0600

Ulf Ochsenfahrt wrote:

>I've been following this list (and this thread) for some time now. I am not
>sure but I think one thing has been missed in this discussion.
>The GPL covers source code, right?

Well, not entirely accurate. The GPL covers the product in question, 
both the source and the executable.

>Linking with a GPLd something (like gcc, for example) is not allowed if
>you're not making it GPL because you use some of the GPLd source code.
>BUT, using source code is not strictly necessary with object-oriented code.
>Imagine the following:
>You have
>a) an Interface that specifies the methods and functionalities you can
>access, this Interface is NOT GPL
>b) a Programm linked to that Interface, no GPL
>c) a new Object that implements this Interface, e.g. a gcc compiler, that
>uses GPLd source code
Ah. Not bad indeed. as long as the new Object in (c)  is GPL'd ... presto!

>The Programm cannot be possibly infected by the GPL since it was never
>intended to be written for this object and none of the GPLed source code was used
>at all.
>Let's take a different example:
>3D Max has an interface allowing anyone to write plugins, now if you write a
>plugin that is GPLed, 3D Max cannot be infected by that. (The only question
>here may be: Are you allowed to write a GPLed plugin?)
>If this "CodeDOM/Compiler/whatever"-stuff only specifies the interfaces it
>does not matter if there is really a GPLd object that provides the
>functionality at runtime.
I think I see the solution from here ... Thanks.

The question is, does this preserve the intent of the license. Lemme see:

1. Any changes I make to the compiler itself must remain GPL.
2. I'm not *actually* linking to that library specifically.
3. Implementation of a Non-GPL interface, by GPL code could not modify 
the Non-GPL'd code's license.
4. Ahhh. Tasty.