On 02/07/2013 03:34 AM, Richard Fontana wrote:
I noted that the GNU GPL was originally intended for software that
would be compiled by proprietary compilers and run on proprietary
operating systems. The earliest binary versions of GNU Emacs must have
contained proprietary code. This of course was what led RMS to add
what came to be known as the system library exception to the
definition of 'complete source code'. But the system library exception
does not tell us what the license of a statically-linked binary formed
out of GPL-licensed code and 'system library' code is supposed to be.
Doesn't that simply mean that the parts of the binary which consist of
the transformed GPL'ed work are still GPL licensed, and the remaining
parts are under whatever license binaries of the system library code
would have if it would be distributed separately?
The system library exception seems to merely limit the scope of the
copyleft nature of the license, so the scenario is similar to statically
linking code under a weaker copyleft (e.g. the Mozilla Public License)
with a system library.
When distributing such a binary you would have to comply with the terms
of both licenses.
But isn't this true of a GPL covered work statically linked with a
library under a GPL-compatible license as well? My understanding is
that someone distributing such a binary would still have to comply with
both licenses, but if you comply with the terms of the GPL you are
usually also complying with terms of any other licenses, because GPL
compatible licenses cannot demand anything substantial beyond what the
GPL is already demanding.
(not a lawyer, so please correct me if any of this reasoning is off :)