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Re: license question with non-GPL library

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: license question with non-GPL library
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 17:19:40 +0200
User-agent: slrn/ (FreeBSD)

On 2006-08-16, Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:
> One must be a total idiot to think that a preexisting BSD library is 
> a derivative work of the GPL'd "application". Are you a total idiot,
> Merijn?

The idiot is the one who can't read. I said that "Your application 
might be a derivative work of the library.", not vice versa. So
how can you possibly think I said the library is derivative
of the application?

And my point, which no doubt you are incapable of grasping even
though I will spell it out for you now, was this.

If you distribute a very big program that contains as one component 
a GPL-licensed program, you must include the source of all the
components of the very big program. The only exception here is
if you provide a mere aggregation of components.

GPL 2(b):
"You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole
or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part
thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties
under the terms of this License."

I'll spell it out for you: CONTAINS ***OR*** is DERIVED.

The OP had a preexisting library linked against a GPL application.
GPL 2(b) requires him to include the source of both when he
distributes the combination. Regardless of whether the library
is a derivative of both, because he distributes both in

You're going to argue now that the library is an independent and
separate work in itself, probably with this quote:

"If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program,
and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those
sections when you distribute them as separate works."
(you'll probably also quote the "mere aggregation" clause)

To spare the rest of the audience your usual invective, let me
respond rightaway. In the next sentence, the GPL says:

"But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which
is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be
on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees
extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part
regardless of who wrote it."

And, BTW, your father was a hamster and your mother smelled
of elderberries.


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