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

From: PrussianSnow
Subject: RE: GPL and statically linking with non-GPL standard C library
Date: Thu, 27 May 2004 11:22:17 +0100

Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> (Byron A Jeff) wrote:
>> -I'd like to distribute GPL code compiled with Borland's C compiler,
>> -and statically linked with Borland's C library.  Is this permitted?
>> No.
>Enlighten me. The OP wants to distribute a binary in
>addition to the source code of the GPLed product, if I
>understand him correctly.
>If he distributes the source alone, he's in the clear.
>If he adds the binary (which is, after all, merely a
>convenience for those who don't have a compiler, but
>removes nothing from the version without the binary),
>he suddenly runs foul of the GPL?

Standard disclaimers: not a lawyer. IANAL! But I don't think the issue is
that he compiled the GPL code. Distributing an object file creating by
compiling *only* the GPL code would be okay. But, once (in this case)
instructions from Borland's libraries are linked into the executable the
resulting binary obviously includes only partial source since he's not going
to distribute Borland's library code and I highly doubt that he could due to
his license for Borland's code being GPL incompatible.

>Seems daft to me.

Might seem daft at first but imagine that a user downloads this supposed GPL
software then discovers there is something that they don't like. Let's say
there's an unprotected buffor or a double free() error somewhere that
creates a security hole. If this is in some of Borland's library code that
is linked in then the user is powerless to do anything about it and has to
go back to Borland to beg them to fix their proprietry code. /This/ is not
what GPL is supposed to be about so now it kind of makes sense. (Of course,
it could be any similar library buy Borland was the example in this case.)

That's my $0.02,

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