How To Break The GPL

Forrest J. Cavalier III forrest at
Fri Mar 3 20:34:00 UTC 2000

From:          Mark Wells <mark at>

> On Fri, 3 Mar 2000, Forrest J. Cavalier III wrote:
> > > I would very much like to hear that there is a flaw in this logic.  If so,
> > > where is it?
> > 
> > In my understanding, Alice must not have used the GPL'ed software
> > in her design and testing.  It would be very hard to avoid this
> > in practice. Claiming to have avoided it, and still distributing
> > instructions for Bob to do it, should be regarded with grave
> > suspicion.
> Alice didn't distribute any actual GPL'd software with her proprietary
> code.

Says who?  If she distributed a derivative work of GPL'ed software, 
then it must be GPL'ed.  The question is whether or not Alice has
a derivative work.

Someone in this thread suggested that Alice could have used a common
API and never used GPL software during development.  That was NOT
the theoretical example proposed.

>  Are you saying that the GPL prohibits the _use_ of GPL software in
> development of proprietary software?

Where did I say that?  Alice can develop all the proprietary
software she want with GPL'ed software.  When she distributed
it, it must be under the GPL.  The GPL does not say derivatives
MUST be published.  It says they must be published under the
GPL.  Big difference.

>  So I can't use, say, GCC to compile
> my non-GPL program?

GCC has a special exception.  If it did not have that exception,
then anything compiled with gcc might be considered a
derivative work.

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