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

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Problem with GPLv3 FAQ about linking with Visual C++
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 17:22:15 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Antonis Christofides <> wrote:
> 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).

:-)  You want belt and braces cast iron guarantees.  As you'll probably
have gathered from most of the contributions to this thread, none of us
here are legal experts (at least, nobody admits to being one).  We're
mainly hackers here.

Be aware also that there are several people on this mailing list, all but
one of whom are anonymous, whose aim is to disrupt the list (which they
have done successfully), and spread FUD about the GPL.  They are, in the
main, highly intelligent, but they simulate low intelligence, pretending
to misunderstand, continually repeating the same falsehoods, attempting
to create the impression that the GPL is really dodgy.  Only they know
why they do this; being so negative seems a strange use of a bright
person's time and talents.  Maybe they get paid for it by somebody.  So
don't trust any negative impression of the GPL you may get from this
mailing list.  It is a thoroughly sound license.

> 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.

In that case, the RTL would appear to satisfy (b2), since it implements a
standard interface to the operating system, of which there certainly is a
form available as source code.

My feeling is that you may be worrying unduly.  I think you'd do better
asking in a forum with legal expertise, rather than here.

> 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".

Well, if I can buy it and you can buy it, it's surely available to the
public, isn't it?

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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