Initial Developer's Public License

Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Fri Feb 13 19:55:09 UTC 2004

Alexander Terekhov <TEREKHOV at> writes:

> John Cowan wrote:
> [...]
> > Native executables aren't simply collections, however; linkers 
> > break up and redistribute the individual object files into 
> > different regions of the executable.
> Do you seriously believe that such details/"linking analysis" 
> [whether this or that linker redistributes the individual 
> object files into different regions, etc.] matters? C'mon, RMS 
> is right: "it makes no difference whether linking is static or 
> dynamic." Neither constitutes creation of derivative work, I 
> think/hope. I may be wrong, of course.

All static linkers not only break up the individual object files and
scatter them into different regions where they are merged with other
objects, they also modify the objects as they are distributed based on
the contents of the other objects included in the link.

I think it is a pretty big stretch to say that static linking does not
produce a derivative work of the objects included in the link.  The
original work is clearly identifiable in the resulting executable, and
it can not be removed without leaving many traces behind.

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