restrictions on web service linking?

Arnoud Engelfriet arnoud at
Tue Nov 21 07:06:42 UTC 2006

Clark C. Evans wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 20, 2006 at 11:42:49PM +0100, Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
> | OSD #9 says that you can impose restrictions on derivative works
> | of your software, but not on other software that it interacts with.
> If I'm distributing foo.exe that is dynamically linked to bar.dll, does
> not the GPL insist that bar.dll is also "GPL compatible"?  Or is the OSI
> explicitly viewing the GPL to apply only to statically linked libraries?

Whether a dynamically linked library is a "derivative" or
"other software interacting with" is an often-debated question.
But yes, if it's *not* derivative then the GPL would not apply
to the linked library.

> | The OS and the DBMS are both independent programs with which
> | your software communicates and interacts to do what it does.
> | Do you think the OS should be as free/open as the DBMS people
> | want to use with your software?
> I would perhaps be completely thrilled with a license that acts like the
> GPL, but one where the test was on "dependency" rather than on "static
> linking".  Let's define an Depend license as something following...

That's what I thought. The problem is that that simply goes
against OSD 9. You're just not supposed to have an OSI-certified
open source license that extends this far. You can make demands
about derivatie works, but that's it. You cannot ask that a
database server, operating system or BIOS firmware be open source
just like your software.

> I'm not saying that this is particularly practical, or useful, but
> it is probably a highly flammable straw man. ;)

The drafting is not a problem. It's a principles thing.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:

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