Combining GPL and non-GPL code

Walter van Holst w.van.holst at
Thu Aug 2 22:08:06 UTC 2007

Van: John Cowan [cowan at]

>Well, I see this through a common-law prism, of course, but it seems
>to me that the GPL is simply telling you that the licensor is not
>giving you certain rights.

The problem is that it is not the author that grants me the right to sue him in case the software is defective, I already have that right, even if he or she provided me the software for free.

>  It also notifies you that this may be
>overridden by operation of law: your legal system may give you
>rights (warrantability and fitness, e.g.) that cannot be disclaimed
>in this way.  It does not require you to surrender anything you had
>in the first place, and as such remains unilateral.

The problem is that the lack of warrantees can be disclaimed, only not unilaterally. I'd be rather hesitant to use this as an argument in favour of the GPL being unilateral, how much I'd like it to be.

Anyway, this horse has been flogged quite extensively past its untimely demise in the legal literature surrounding FOSS licenses and so far none that I am aware of is considers it of a problem with more than just academic value.



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