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Re: More GPL questions

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: More GPL questions
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 15:23:11 +0200

On Tue, 17 Oct 2006 14:51:48 +0200
David Kastrup <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels <> writes:

> > An original program in source code format, and contains function
> > and/or system calls does not consist of "revisions, annotations,
> > elaborations or other modifications" to the libraries or the OS.
> Sigh.  But a literary work consisting of annotations does not contain
> material from the original work.  It is, as a whole, an original work
> of authorship.

You cannot "annotate, revise, elaborate or otherwise modify" without
anything of the original work. Programs that use a library or an OS are
not "revisions, annotations, elaborations or other modifications" of
the library or the OS. 

> > It's a wholly new work. It contains _no_ code from the libraries or
> > the OS, and thus it cannot be a derivative work.
> But in the literary case, exactly that does _not_ hold, according to
> the letter of the law.

In the specific case of "annotations, revisions, elaborations and other
modifications", which supposes that there is a work that is revised,
annotated, elaborated or otherwise modified". Are you claiming that all
programs are modifications, elaborations, revisions and annotations of
the OS and the libraries? 

The simple fact is that an original program in source code format is
wholly independent of whatever it might need to be executed on a
computer, and that it is under no circumstances affected by the
copyrights of OS and libraries that might be used to turn the source
code into a running program. I firmly believe that the OP can
distribute his example programs, or even complete, useful programs in
source format, under whatever license he fancies, without any recourse
for the copyright holders of the libraries and OSes that might - if the
licensee so desires - be used to run the programs. 

Stefaan A Eeckels
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is run by smart people who are
putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.      --Mark Twain

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