GPL and closed source

Mahesh T. Pai paivakil at
Sat Jun 4 09:18:50 UTC 2011

David Woolley said on Fri, Jun 03, 2011 at 10:12:27PM +0100,:

 > Mahesh T. Pai wrote:
 > >If the question is whether GPL allows GPL'ed code to use functionality
 > >provided by libraries under other licenses, the answer is, (a) yes it
 > >does and (b) GPL does not fetter a user's freedom to use the GPL'ed
 > >code any manner he likes - that includes depending on non-free
 > >libraries.
 > However, copies can only be redistributed if the licences for all
 > the GPLed components grant specific permission to link against that
 > proprietary library.

I cannot grant X permission to use works owned by Y. Sorry, not
because I tell you so, but the law says so.

When I use the GPL, I do not  restrict your USE of  my software. 

Use includes linking against non-free libraries. 

 > Giving someone software under a purported GPL licence without giving
 > them dispensations to link with the proprietary libraries makes the

Again, when I do not own the proprietary lbirary, it is not for me to
grnnt permission for its use.

 > GPL pretty pointless.  It would be better to use a licence that
 > reflects the intended redistribution terms.
 > I believe you can actually modify and link GPLed code with
 > proprietary code when you are not the owner and don't have a
 > dispensation, but you are then not allowed to give it to anyone
 > else.

I feel this is mere fud against the GPL. How can my licensee have
rights over my code which I do not have?

 > >
 > >Please note that FSF's answer to "Can I write free sfotware that uses
 > >non-free libraries" and "What legal issues come UP if I use GPL
 > >incompatible lbiraries with GPL software?"
 > >
 > >
 > >
 > >
 > >are mostly technical; not legal. If you read clearly, the text says
 > >"please do not do it - write a GPL compatible, free software library".
 > >
 > "It" here, is issuing a dispensation.

I am not a native speaker of English. But my entire education was in
English language. And I have close to 20 years of education. 

When the questions are "can I write..." and ".... if I use GPL
incompatible libraries ...", and the answer is "please do not it", I
understand "it" to mean "write" and "use" respectively.

 > However, note that the intention of the GPL is that most GPLed
 > programs should not be the sole intellectual property of the current
 > author.  

Huh?? Are you speaking for the FSF / RMS / Moglen / the community
which participated in drafting of teh GPL v 3?

 > By linking with proprietary libraries, you forego the right
 > to distribute versions that are derivatives of other GPLed code.

I thought we were discussing whether a GPL'ed program can use
functionality provided by non-GPL'ed (and even non-free) libraries. 

Of course, if the question is whether distributing program "foo"
prevents you from using derivatives of "bar", the answer would be

 > Note the disputed legal issue is about when a binary program is a
 > derivative work of a software library.

Who was discussing derivatives? We were discussing the grey areas
between black and white, and suddenly, you have brought in blue. 

Why is question of derivative works relevant here? 

Mahesh T. Pai   ||
L'homme est libre au moment qu'il veut l'etre.
    * Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

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