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Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced

From: Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 23:36:53 +0200
User-agent: KMail/1.13.5 (Linux/; KDE/4.4.4; i686; ; )

On Sunday 11 September 2011, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 09:28:31PM +0200, Pedro Lopez-Cabanillas wrote:
> > But as I've said, if the compiler and developer tools are "freeware"
> > or not is irrelevant from the license point of view, in my
> > opinion. These are the same tools used to build all Mac OSX
> > applications; any legal restriction because a GPL interpretation
> > would mean that developing GPL applications for Mac OSX would be
> > forbidden as well.

Note that for me "freeware" means "free of charge" only. I'm not talking about 
the license of the compiler and developer tools, but about the price. 
An example of a freeware compiler is MSVC, included in Visual Studio Express. 
This is a proprietary compiler distributed at no cost, that creates  
executables for a proprietary operating system, distributed commercially. 
FluidSynth includes explicit support for Windows and MSVC.

The Apple compiler is based on GCC, and it is released under the GPL. Xcode is 
an equivalent to the Visual Studio Express, and contains proprietary tools. It 
is distributed at no cost as well, but they could charge a price if they want,  
because the GPL allows to sell derived works.

Summary: It is irrelevant if the compiler and developers tools are released at 
no cost or for a price. I think that you misunderstood my sentence.

> Uh, no. They are so not-irrelevant that the GPL contains an explicit
> clause to handle this case, without which it would be very hard to
> write GPL applications on non-free platforms. In GPLv2 it's this:
> "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."
> An application which relied on some proprietary compiler that was not
> covered by this clause would not be distributable under the GPL (which
> is fairly obvious, because otherwise it would be very easy to work
> around the GPL by putting all your proprietary changes into the
> compiler).

Yes, you can release a GPL application that requires proprietary operating 
systems and compilers. Nothing is said about money, though.


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