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Re: Problem with GPLv3 FAQ about linking with Visual C++

From: Antonis Christofides
Subject: Re: Problem with GPLv3 FAQ about linking with Visual C++
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 08:55:22 +0200

On Mon, 1 Feb 2010 15:55:59 +0000 (UTC)
Alan Mackenzie <> wrote:

> The "System Libraries" of an executable work include anything,
> other than the work as a whole, that
>  (a) is included in the normal form of packaging a Major
>      Component, but which is not part of that Major Component,
>      and
>  (b) serves only to enable use of the work with that Major
>      Component, or to implement a Standard Interface for which
>      an implementation is available to the public in source code
>      form.
> A "Major Component", in this context, means a major essential
> component (kernel, window system, and so on) of the specific
> operating system (if any) on which the executable work runs, or a
> compiler used to produce the work, or an object code interpreter
> used to run it.

Thanks, Alan, for the reply, which boils down to this:

>   (a) The RTL is normally distributed with Delphi.
>   (b) It (your distribution of the RTL) serves only to enable your
>     program to run.

Unfortunately I'm still not convinced. In our case, Major Component is
the Delphi Compiler, and the question is whether the Delphi RTL is a
system library. So condition (a) is fulfilled because the Delphi RTL
is included in the normal form of the packaging of the Delphi Compiler
(and is not part of the Delphi Compiler).

But it does not fullfil (b1) (I'll use b1 and b2 for the two
subconditions of b), because the RTL does not serve only to enable use
of my program with the Delphi Compiler; instead, it serves to enable
the use of my program with the operating system, or generally to
enable my program to run. Indeed, my distribution of the RTL serves
only to enable my program to run, but "serves" in condition (b) cannot
possibly refer to my distribution of the RTL, but to the RTL itself.

Therefore, it is only (b2) that can be said to be fullfilled, and this
is true only if, as you said, the fact that the RTL source code is
normally distributed with Delphi qualifies as source code that is
"available to the public".

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