Cross-Platform License (was Re: Newbie Question)

David Johnson david at
Wed Oct 30 07:25:51 UTC 2002

On Tuesday 29 October 2002 10:40 pm, osi_curious at wrote:

> The GPL already prohibits dependence on proprietary software?  I didn't
> realise this.  Can you point me towards a URL which gives a clean
> explication of the GPL?

Section 3, paragraph 5, of the GPL says that all modules must be released 
under the GPL. Most interpretations, including the FSF's, regard libraries in 
the linkage chain to be modules. Thus, anything the software links to must be 

But there is a special exception that says "need not include anything that is 
normally distributed ... with the major components... of the operating 
system". Thus, it's okay to use win32 or MFC with GPL code.

(But this whole close is full of controversy. Definitions of "operating 
system", "component", "module", and "derivative work" are crucial to this 
section, and everyone has their own set of definitions.)

> Again, yes.  I would like to even stipulate that the standard interfaces
> (as far as the GUI is concerned) be open source and cross-platform.  I
> don't know how practical this would be, however.

I would stay away from trying to specify "cross-platform" in a license. It's a 
very nebulous term.

> Glad to hear it.  I'll now begin writing the license, and follow the
> appropriate procedures in submitting it for approval.

I would take a step back and decide if you REALLY need this license. It will 
be unpractical. A lot of people will not want to use it. OSD conformance does 
not guarantee approval. Yada, yada, yada.

And... it's probably not necessary. The example you gave earlier was a Python 
program using wxWindows. Very few, if any, people are going to go to the work 
of rewriting your program to use a different toolkit.

David Johnson
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