How To Break The GPL

Ken Arromdee arromdee at
Fri Mar 3 17:44:20 UTC 2000

This basically sounds like "user does the link".

The FSF takes the position that if you distribute software that can only be
run by linking it with something GPLed, your software is a derivative work of
the GPLed software even if you don't include any parts of it.  So by these
standards, Alice would be distributing a derivative work, so she would be the
one violating the GPL.

Of course this position has some other unpleasant consequences too; for
instance, a program designed only to run with Microsoft Windows DLLs is
a derivative work of Windows, which means that Microsoft can deny you the
legal right to write Windows programs.  I wrote to RMS asking him about just
this scenario, and his reply was basically that this is correct, but that it
is not in the interests of the makers of proprietary operating systems to do
that.  (I didn't buy that--it wouldn't be in Microsoft's interest to ban *all*
Windows software, but it would be in their interest to ban, say, Word Perfect
or Netscape.)

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