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Re: License change for ghostscript

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 6:32 PM, Chris Adams<cmadams hiwaay net> wrote:
> Once upon a time, Tom spot Callaway <tcallawa redhat com> said:
>> On 08/05/2009 02:38 PM, Jussi Lehtola wrote:
>> >Apropos, what's the license in case a GPL package links against OpenSSL?
>> >GPL with exceptions or what? Or is it even allowed?
>> So, in this specific case, I'm still arguing with Red Hat Legal, and we
>> have not determined our final stance.
> This brings up something I've wondered: if you program to an API where
> there are multiple implementations, is your program a derived work of
> one of them, the other, or both?

So— you make the matter a lot harder to discuss by taking about "your
program (being) a derived work".

The whole notion of the linking boundary creating a derived work is
unnecessary for copyleft, and trying to apply it adds more confusion
than clarity.

Here is a conceptual framework for analyzing the issue which is pretty
robust against corner cases like the multiple APIs:

The licenses of pagkage X is only relevant when you are
using/distributing package X and can only set the conditions under
which you may use/distribute it.  However, the license can stipulate
nearly arbitrary conditions: "Can only make copies of this on
tuesday", "This license is void for copies placed on physical media
which have been stored within 15 feet of a microsoft product", "Only
valid for use by women named 'Bob'", etc.  None of these should be
understood as effecting things outside of the software in any kind of
direct way: The license hasn't required you to get a sex and name
change, but rather said you can't use the software unless you do.

So if you create a piece of software that can equally link to X or Y,
and you never use/distribute X yourself  you are simply not within
reach of X's licensing terms.  If someone else takes your software and
X then sticks them on a CD, then they are obligated to follow X's
license, which may include terms that make depends about the licensing
of other software— ... software that links to it... software on the
same media .... software in the same building ... software that starts
with the same letter.  Doesn't matter. Whatever the conditions are,
they are the conditions for using X.  If you can't simultaneously
satisfy the requirements of X and the requirements of some other
software package you'll have to stop distributing one or the other or
risk litigation from whomevers requirements you're violating.

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