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Re: README.woe32, GPL, and the Win32 binaries

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: README.woe32, GPL, and the Win32 binaries
Date: 13 Jan 2004 08:09:26 +0200

> From: Bruno Haible <address@hidden>
> Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 17:07:00 +0100
> > From the GPL text in COPYING in gettext-0.13.1.tar.gz "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."
> Yes, and msvcr70.dll is not part of a normal Windows installation.

I just did a search on the closest Windows XP box, which doesn't have
MSVC 7 (or any other compiler, for that matter), and found msvcr70.dll
on it.  It apparently came with Office, which _is_ installed on that
machine.  Windows machines without Office are quite rare these days.

Moreover, googling for the file's name will get you several places
where you can download that DLL.

So it looks like it's quite easy to have a machine with that file
even without the compiler.

> If someone distributes a binary created by MSVC, with the intent that the
> user retrieves 'msvcr70.dll' somewhere else, his binary and the 'msvcr70.dll'
> still form a "combined work" in the terms of the GPL, and therefore must
> be distributed under the GPL. But he cannot do that since the source of
> msvcr70.dll is not available.

Sorry, I cannot parse this paragraph.  If I distribute the
MSVC-compiled binary without the offending DLL, how exactly did I
violate the GPL?

> UWIN is not "normally distributed with the OS"

UWIN isn't, but it looks like msvcr70.dll comes very close to be just

> > Please clarify the README text, including the relation of this perceived
> > violation in conjunction with msvcrt.dll / msvcr70.dll on other Win32
> > platforms such as Windows 95 (which may not have originally shipped with
> > msvcrt.dll)
> msvcrt.dll is not the same thing because it is usually distributed with
> Windows. Whether that includes old Windows95, is not relevant.

According to your logic, if Windows 95 doesn't have msvcrt.dll, one
cannot distribute binaries that need it, since otherwise the
distributor will violate the GPL if the binary is used on Windows 95.

> MSVC is not a part of Windows; you have to pay extra for it.

Let me remind you that the need to pay a fee has nothing to do with
the issue of whether software is free or not.

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