Re: Move to LGPL3

Dominic Lachowicz wrote:
On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 8:46 PM, Mark Mielke <mark mark mielke cc> wrote:
Jean Bréfort wrote:
 > Windows API (and may be DirectX) is a special case, because you can't
 > write a Windows program without using it.

 It's not a special case. There is certainly no reference to the Windows
 API in the GPL or the LGPL.

 The only license that matters when it comes to deciding whether or not
 you can link to the Windows API, is the license that Microsoft grants
 you for the Windows API. The GPL cannot dictate how you may or may not
 make use of the Windows API. I do not see a clause anywhere that states
 "you may never derive from, or make us of, a non-GPL or non-LGPL
 library." It is always the product you are deriving from, or making use

There's no explicit reference to the Windows API in the GPL or LGPL,
but there's an important clause in both the GPLv2.0 and LGPL2.1:

"However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not
include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or
binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on)
of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that
component itself accompanies the executable. "

In this case, the Windows API and DirectX would be considered
"normally distributed major components" of the operating system, and
thus be ok to use in a L/GPL licensed work.

This is open to interpretation - but the exact wording of the license does not necessarily match the legal rights a person has in terms of copyright law, and the ability for a copyright to limit the use of the product. In my opinion, the "special exception" is not part of the license, but stating the obvious. I don't believe the GPL can stop me from linking with non-GPL software, as long as I don't distribute my change as a derived work. Copyright law is about distribution rights.

There are efforts to change this, such as the digital protection groups, who are trying (and have succeeded?) in making it illegal to  make some uses of products, such as reverse engineering.

If I choose to download Oracle, and connect a GPL product to Oracle *without redistribution*, there is nothing the FSF can do to stop me.


Mark Mielke <mark mielke cc>

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