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Re: GNU licenses

From: Richard Tobin
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 4 Sep 2006 16:09:14 GMT

In article <>,
 <> wrote:

>But I don't know _WHY_ the license is made this way, WHAT is the
>motivation for requiring people to make all their original work "free"
>if they use the "free" code. Could you explain? More detailed than
>"it's needed" or "it works".

You'd have to ask the author of the software in question.  

I like to share my code with others.  But to me, it seems only fair
that if I let other people use my code for free, then they should do
the same with theirs.  If they want to make money out of it, they
should pay me some of it.  So I release it under the GPL and under
other licences for commercial use.

Some people take the view that it's immoral to not let people examine
and modify the source code of a program, so they want to ensure that
their code can't be restricted in that way.  The GPL is a fairly
effective way to do that.

>But I'd still like an answer -- if one (anyone) uses a
>_library_ that's  GNU in one's program, does that mean the _program_
>has to be GNU?

If you distribute the library and the library is licensed under the
GPL, then yes.  (I believe that the FSF asserts that even if you
*don't* distribute the library, if there's no way to run the program
without it then it's a derived work and must therefore be under the
GPL, but that's a separate issue.)

If the library is under the LGPL, you don't have to GPL your program.

>Another question: if you compile and link with the GNU GCC compiler
>does that mean you have to give that program you compile GNU license,
>or not? Ie. if I make a program with NO GNU code in it, THEN
>compile & link w/GNU GCC and GNU runtime, etc. libraries do I have
>to GNU it?

Compiling with gcc doesn't put anything under the GPL.  I believe that
the GNU C library, glibc, is licensed under the LGPL.  But you should
check this.

-- Richard

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