Do programs compiled with a GNU compiler have to be open source?
Andrew J Bromage
Andrew.Bromage at its.monash.edu.au
Mon Oct 30 01:53:01 UTC 2000
On Sat, Oct 28, 2000 at 11:24:30AM -0400, nathan_gundlach at hotpop.com wrote:
> Do programs compiled with a GNU compiler have to be open
The short answer is "not usually".
The longer answer:
I would think that it would be exceedingly hard to argue that the output
of a compiler is a derivative work of (or "work based on") the compiler
or any standard libraries that must be provided as part of a conforming
language implementation, especially if the language has at least one
other sufficiently conforming implementation. IANAL, but I know that I
wouldn't like my chances defending that position in court. A possible
exception might be if the compiled output is mostly boilerplate (e.g. as
is the case with the output of yacc/bison or lex/flex).
You will almost always find, though, that compiler writers that use a
GNU licence _their_ work protected by it, not yours. The Free Software
Foundation is particularly nice about this. You will invariably see in
the documentation a disclaimer that using this GPL'd compiler does not
in and of itself make your programs covered by the GPL.
You should naturally check your own compiler's documentation for details.
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