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LGPL reverse engineering clause & Java

From: Robert Dodier
Subject: LGPL reverse engineering clause & Java
Date: 1 Dec 2004 11:41:35 -0800

Hello everyone,

I've read the LGPL and many discussions but I can't seem to
understand Section 6 in its entirety. I'm having trouble understanding
paragraph 1, specifically: 

    "... provided that the [license] terms permit modification of the 
    work for the customer's own use and reverse engineering for debugging 
    such modifications."

Backing up for a moment, the scenario I'm studying involves a
proprietary program (Java) making use of a LGPL library (also Java).
I'll assume without further comment the FSF position -- that
dynamic linking, as implemented by Java for example, is the same
as static linking for the purposes of the LGPL -- therefore
"the work" referred above is the combination of the proprietary
program plus the LGPL library.

It would appear that Section 6 requires the following language or
its equivalent to appear in the license for the proprietary program:
"You are permitted to modify the program and the library for 
your own use, and to reverse engineer the program for the purpose 
of debugging said modifications". 

Or am I wrong -- are the modifications permitted by Section 6 only
modifications to the library, and not the program? 
Does "permitted to modify" mean only "permitted to recompile the
library and relink with the program" ?

Granted, modifications to a Java binary are inconvenient, but
far from impossible, and could be useful sometimes.

Forgive me for beating a dead horse, I know this topic has been
discussed before, but I can't find any definite conclusions.

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this topic!

Robert Dodier

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