GPL with the Classpath exception - clarification needed

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Mar 27 17:43:44 UTC 2009

Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> And
> almost none of the technical distinctions being drawn here, interesting
> though they are to a former programmer like me, are actually reflected in
> the words of the license itself.

Inevitably so, since they result from the combination of the license requirements,
the technical details of particular languages, and the social practices around
releases.  If people routinely released their C programs as tarballs of object
files and expected end users to link them, the LGPL and GPL+CP would be in effect
equivalent (modulo certain special cases).

> Why "yet another license" (GPL+Classpath) when OSL 3.0 already handles this
> case correctly under copyright law?

GPL plus an exception for proprietary linking has been around since at least
the mid-90s under various names, often "the license of Guile", though Guile
itself is now under the LGPL.

Do I contradict myself?                         John Cowan
Very well then, I contradict myself.            cowan at
I am large, I contain multitudes.     
        --Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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