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Re: framework

From: David Chisnall
Subject: Re: framework
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 16:18:41 +0100

And this is what I am talking about when I say that people should read and understand the GPL, and the relevant bits of international copyright law it depends upon, before using it...

If you use a GPL'd library then the complete work must be under the GPL[1], however each individual part can be under some other GPL- compatible license. You may release a framework that depends on a GPL framework under, for example, an MIT license, however the combined work of your framework plus the GPL'd framework falls under the GPL.

Note that this does not apply if your framework is a derived work of the GPL'd framework (in this case it must be GPL'd), but simply using published interfaces for a library does not make your program a derived work. As such, the GPL is only relevant as a distribution license, meaning that it is only relevant to people distributing the GPL'd framework. If you are not distributing the GPL'd framework, you do not have to comply with the GPL, however anyone distributing your framework and the GPL'd framework (e.g. Linux distributions) will have to. Someone can, however, write a drop-in replacement for the GPL'd framework in the future and then distribute the MIT-licensed framework linked against their version without the GPL being relevant. See the MySQL client library and PHP for a case study in this.


[1] Actually, even this isn't quite true, but the other ways of complying with the GPL that don't involve this are too complex to bother with.

On 28 Aug 2009, at 08:47, Yavor Doganov wrote:

В Thu, 27 Aug 2009 13:21:48 +0100, David Chisnall написа:

If you are linking against a GPL'd framework, you do not have to make
your code GPL'd, you have to release your code under a GPL-compatible

This is not accurate. If you distribute your code and it links against a
GPL'ed library, you *must* license it under the GPL.  That's the whole
point in using GPL for libraries:


IOW, any application or library that links with (say) the GNU Scientific
Library (GSL) must be GPLv3 or later.

OTOH, if he doesn't distribute his code at all, all licensing
considerations are moot.

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