Static v. Dynamic Linking -- redux

Emiliano emile at
Sat Mar 16 09:16:39 UTC 2002

David Johnson wrote:

> > I say "almost completely" because I think the burden of proof should
> > shift to the creator of an alleged derivative work to demonstrate either
> > (1) the DLL was designed and intended to be invoked dynamically by
> > programs that are not "derivative works" of that DLL, or (2) the
> > proprietary program that invokes that DLL doesn't use dynamic linking
> > simply to get around the [GPL] license.
> Your first point is interesting. I'm wondering how one could demonstrate that
> a library was meant to be invoked by non-derivative works. Here the criteria
> that I would use: the library is a separate distinct package, and the
> interface for the library is documented. These two criteria tell me that the
> library was intended to be used for multiple programs by multiple authors.

Which still leaves it open to wrapping. LGPL-licensed wrapper service (with a
distinct interface from the DLL) calls functionality from GPL DLL. This
proxy interface too can be documented, and as said, alternate
implementations could be whipped up in a snap, with the actual program
being 'designed to' link against the proxy service. Unless LGPL servers
can't link against GPL DLLs; I'm not entirely sure on that.


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