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Re: Questions about a special exception to the GPL

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Questions about a special exception to the GPL
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 15:56:20 -0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20091204 Thunderbird/3.0

On 5/19/2010 4:16 AM, Tassilo Horn wrote:
   Linking this library statically or dynamically with other modules is
   making a combined work based on this library.  Thus, the terms and
   conditions of the GNU General Public License cover the whole

Whether a work is a combined work is dependent on the details
of copyright law, not on your wishes. So you cannot simply
declare that a dynamically linked work is a combined work for
purposes of using copyright to determine how that work may be
copied and distributed.

In my opinion (not universally shared, obviously) a program
which dynamically links to libraries is not a combined work
containing those libraries and is not a derivative work of
those libraries, and thus the copyrights of those libraries
cannot be used to constrain the copying and distribution of
the program, especially if the libraries are not supplied
with the program but are made available separately.

   As a special exception, the copyright holders of this library give you
   permission to release your combined work using this library under any
   free software license listed at
   no matter if GPL-compatible or GPL-incompatible, unless you apply
   modifications to the library's source code itself.

You would probably be better off listing the licenses individually
instead of pointing to a web site which links to other web sites.
Or you could just go LGPL.

Should I add something along the lines of
   Modifications to code generated by the library are explicitly allowed
   by the special exception.
to the exception text?

I think at this point you start getting into such complexities
of ownership that you'll drive away users unless the permissions
are crystal clear.

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