License issues

Steve Langasek vorlon at
Mon May 28 21:33:24 GMT 2001

On Thu, 24 May 2001, Richard Sharpe wrote:

> >There are (in my mind) two kinds of possibilities for violation here:
> >a) an app might use the gnome-vfs api to access files in general,
> >which suddenly means that the app also can read files from smb
> >shares.
> >b) An app depends on the existence of the smb module for it's core
> >functionality.

> Hmmm, since is a library, I would not think that you have
> to make anything that calls it, if you don't distribute it, GPL'd as well.
> However, IANAL.

IANAL either, but the 'conventional' understanding of the GPL (i.e., the one
spearheaded by RMS) holds that if you link to a library that's GPLed, you're
required to release your application's source under the GPL if you
redistribute said app.  The exception is if the GPL library exports an ABI
that's also provided by some other, non-GPL library.  It may also apply to
libs that export the same API; RMS makes this explicit so that developers are
not discouraged from using GPL'ed versions of essential system libraries.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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