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

From: Andrew Suffield
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 08:44:33 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 09:30:50AM +0200, David Henningsson wrote:
> Maybe the section you quoted below is what makes the free-compiler
> question irrelevant then?

For xcode, which is clearly an "OS component", yes. But it's not
really the free-compiler question, just an interesting subset of

> >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).
> There is a problem with the section in itself, as it indicates that
> a compiler is a major component of an operating system. For the
> Windows platform in particular, a lot of different compilers exist.

That's intentional - this clause is written specifically to exclude
things which everybody can get access to, and no more. It would not be
okay to take a GPLed application and modify it such that it relied on
one of the unusual proprietary compilers. Code that would work on any
random compiler is obviously not at issue here.

That does catch some hypothetical legitimate uses as well as the
obvious abusive ones, but so far as I can recall, in all the years the
GPL has been around there hasn't been a case of weird proprietary
compiler dependency observed in the wild. So I don't really expect it
to matter.

The intent is pretty simple and clear: people should be able to modify
and rebuild the application, and you have to provide them with any
weird stuff that they can't readily access. It's also pretty obvious
that this is what it has to mean for the (L)GPL to work.

(As far as the App Store is concerned, Apple's policy is to take down
any GPLed material, and I don't think the LGPL has come up yet)

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