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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: Thu, 27 May 2004 23:31:14 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 "PrussianSnow" <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> >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?

> >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,
> PrussianSnow.

The daft thing is that if the program had been distributed as source, 
and the user compiled it with Borland C, they'd *still* have to beg 
Borland for a fix to the library.  So the end user is in the same 
position regardless of whether the program is distributed in binary or 
source form.

Of course, if the program is distributed as source, the end user has the 
option of compiling it with a different compiler and/or linking it with 
a different library.  But that's also true if the program is distributed 
as a binary with accompanied source.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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