Base Perl modules with BSD software

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Fri Jul 13 02:46:42 UTC 2007

Alex wrote:
> I am writing a piece of software that I want to license as BSD. I am
> using Perl, which is licensed under both the GPL and its own Artistic
> License.
> According to the GNU website (
> ) my program
> will be considered a derivative work if "the interpreter is extended to
> provide 'bindings' to other facilities". As far as I know, Perl modules
> do not fall under that category since they do not change the interpreter
> in any way.

Yes, but I think some do have this kind of bindings.  For example, there
was a discussion before of the GNU Readline module
( which provides a
binding for GNU Readline(GPL-only).  By the FSF's interpretation, I
believe a program that
uses Term GNU Readline  would need to be released under the GPL.

> what about the modules included with Perl? Could a statement as simple as "use Carp"
> force my program to be licensed under the GPL?

I believe most of the modules included in Perl use Artistic/GPL.
Artistic is explicitly not a copyleft license, and says, "The scripts
and library files supplied as input to or produced as output from the
programs of this Package do not automatically fall under the copyright
of this Package, but belong to whomever generated them, and may be sold
commercially, and may be aggregated with this Package."  That means if
you only use Perl/Artistic modules you shouldn't have to be under the GPL.

Matthew Flaschen

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