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Re: Using a script licensed under GPL in an application licensed under a

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: Using a script licensed under GPL in an application licensed under a license that's not compatible with GPL
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 09:24:52 +0100

On Fri, 15 Dec 2006 01:03:11 +0100 (CET)
"Alfred M. Szmidt" <> wrote:

>    The scripts of the OP are written by the OP, and contain no code of
>    the GPLed script.
> The program by the OP imports the GPLed script, that is all that
> matters.
>    It is especially asinine because it makes every source program a
>    derivative work of the OS or at least the libraries it uses.
> If the program actually imports the script, yes.  Common usage does
> not.

"Importing" is done at run time. The OP's scripts themselves do not
contain a single jot of the GPLed script. Ergo, they cannot be
derivative works. Obviously, if substantial parts of the code of the
script would be "included" in the OP's script, the matter would be

>    If writing ". /foo/bar" in a shell script makes the _source_ code
>    of the shell script a derivative work of /foo/bar, programming
>    essentially becomes impossible, because then you cannot write those
>    10 characters without the permission of the author of /foo/bar.
> It does not make things impossible, or even near impossible are you
> try to purport it.  You are free to not to use the program after all.

You don't get it - one cannot write a (useful) 'C' program without a
few #include statements (which will cause the preprocessor to "import"
the header files). If that makes the source code a derivative work of
the header files, you'd have to ask the permission of AT&T, and Sun
before you'd be allowed to write even just the following line (on my
Solaris system):

#include <unistd.h>

because that would be a derivative work of unistd.h, which is
copyrighted by AT&T and Sun:

$ cat /usr/include/unistd.h
/*      Copyright (c) 1988 AT&T */
/*        All Rights Reserved   */

/*      The copyright notice above does not evidence any        */
/*      actual or intended publication of such source code.     */

 * Copyright (c) 1996-2001 by Sun Microsystems, Inc.
 * All rights reserved.

Notice that this post is not a derivative work of unistd.h even though
I quoted 13 lines from it. How then can the source code of a program be
a derivative work when it merely references the header file? Or how can
(the source code of) a script be a derivative work of another script
when it contains the line:

. /a/gpled/script

Stefaan A Eeckels
"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which
 could only have originated in California." --Edsger Dijkstra

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