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Re: GPL incompatibility? examples/loadables/getconf.c

From: Greg Wooledge
Subject: Re: GPL incompatibility? examples/loadables/getconf.c
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 08:44:58 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/

On Fri, Dec 25, 2009 at 05:28:43PM -0800, Julius Davies wrote:
> This file in the source contains a BSD license with an advertising clause:
> bash-4.0/examples/loadables/getconf.c
> I'm curious if this is a problem, since Bash is mostly GPL version 3 (or 
> later).

The examples/loadables/ directory contains optional "loadable builtins"
which are not part of the bash program itself.  The compiled versions
thereof are not part of the bash package in Debian, nor in any other OS
I've run across personally.

If they are compiled, they become separate object files (*.so or whatever
is appropriate on the given platform).  If loaded into memory (which
requires an explicit command issued by the user), they *may* create a
"work" which would be questionable under GPLv2 (I'm not yet familiar
with GPLv3; nor am I a lawyer).  But I don't see how this "work" would
be distributed, since it's created transiently by user action.

The only reason I could see a licensing problem would be if some OS,
packager, etc. were to build the loadable builtins and ship them in
binary form, with the understanding that someone might actually use
them in that form.  Even then, I'd look for professional legal opinion
to clarify the situation.

Worst case, a packager could just not build this one object file, if it's
the only one with the advertising clause.

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