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Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: [ROFL] GCC's GPLv3 "Updated License Exception"
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 18:31:55 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Hyman Rosen <> wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>> If I write foo.c and compile it to foo.o, I don't think there are pieces
>> there.  I then link it with a few other files and it becomes the
>> executable foo.  The only bits in there which aren't my copyright are
>> analogues of the book's cover and printing.

> That's not correct. The executable foo may contain pieces
> (or the entirety, even) of works whose copyright is owned
> by someone other than you.

OK.  I'm assuming here that I wrote all the source myself.  The only
other components in the executable will be "boilerplate" (things like
init code, setting up stacks, reading command line parameters, calling
OS routines).

> Some of them may be requested by you as part of the link process,
> and some of them may be placed there automatically by the linker
> without your specific request.

OK.  You're saying, I think, that this "boilerplate" code gives the
boilerplate's writer some degree of copyright in the executable program.
I'm not at all convinced o this.  Certainly, the world doesn't seem to
work this way in practice, in that if I write some code for a
proprietary OS, and build it with proprietary tools, the tool vendors
don't sue me for royalties.

> Your "book printing" analogy is apt; the cover art will
> generally be covered by a copyright owned by someone other
> than the book author.

It differs from software, though, in that the cover isn't necessary for
the book's purpose.  The "boilerplate" code is absolutely required for
the program to work.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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