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Re: GPL and statically linking with non-GPL standard C library

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: GPL and statically linking with non-GPL standard C library
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 14:42:10 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <x53c5n144q.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <> 

> Barry Margolin <> writes:
> > In article <x57juz1584.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <> 
> > wrote:
> > 
> > > The GPL does not force you to create portable code: it is
> > > certainly allowed to create derivatives that will only be
> > > recompilable with a proprietary compiler.  If that compiler always
> > > comes with system libraries, I don't see how the GPL can enforce
> > > that they be free: they are part of the build system.
> > > 
> > > If the GPL could prohibit that, the GNU project could never have
> > > been legally distributed while there were no free systems
> > > available yet for bootstrapping them.
> > 
> > At the time the GNU project started, all Unix systems came with a C
> > compiler and libraries.
> No.  This is simply false.  Development kits cost extra.  Apart from

Not on most Unix systems.  For instance, Sun didn't remove the C 
compiler from the bundled system until Solaris 2.x.  For the most part, 
K&R C compilers were available with the systems, but ANSI C compilers 
cost extra.  But GNU started before there was such a thing as ANSI C.

> that, GNU programs have been compilable on a lot of non-UNIX systems
> as well.

They weren't in the beginning.  It was several years before the GNU 
utilities were ported to DOS or Windows, for instance.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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