Linking restrictions and shared libraries

David Johnson david at
Mon Mar 12 19:47:16 UTC 2001

On Monday March 12 2001 12:18 pm, Dr. David Gilbert wrote:

> What I am unclear of is shared libraries; is there something actually
> copied into the result as part of the linking stage?  If I was to rewrite
> a header for a GPL library so that I didn't make use of the GPLd header
> could I then shared link it into a commercial app?

I've come to the conclusion that absent a specific court decision on this 
specific matter, it doesn't matter a hill of beans what the law says, only 
what RMS says. If he says that using dynamic libraries creates derivates of 
those libraries, then that's the way it is, gosh darn it! He could say that 
black is white, and absent a court decision, he could very well be "legally" 

Cynicism aside, I am a reductionist by nature. If the definition of 
"derivative work" is too vague in copyright law, then I go for a stricter 
interpretation. RMS, on the other had, is a constructionist by nature, and 
takes a much broader interpretation of the vagueness.

In the end, it all boils down to whether you want to be the one challenging 
the GPL in court or not.

David Johnson

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