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Re: [fink-core] Running Octave from Fink?

From: Alexander Hansen
Subject: Re: [fink-core] Running Octave from Fink?
Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2012 13:45:06 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:16.0) Gecko/20121026 Thunderbird/16.0.2

On 11/8/12 1:11 PM, David R. Morrison wrote:
> On Nov 7, 2012, at 6:24 AM, Jordi GutiƩrrez Hermoso wrote:
>> I'm CCing current GNU president Richard Stallman. He might like to
>> comment further on these issues.
>> The distinction between the operating system and the libraries is made
>> in the GPL. The GPL allows you to build, run, and distribute the
>> software in a hostile operating system, but does not extend this
>> permission to non-free libraries. Such proprietary glue sometimes
>> falls under the system library exception, but this depends on the
>> manner in which it's distributed (the precise GPLese is libraries that
>> are "in the normal form of packaging a Major Component").
>> So Fink is doing binary distribution for Octave, AIUI, but it's also
>> linking to proprietary libraries that do not fall under the system
>> library exception? I am not sure if this is the current situation, but
>> I find it troubling.
> Absolutely not.  Fink goes to great lengths to make sure that the software it 
> builds does not accidentally
> link to libraries which were not specified in the package description.  In 
> particular, GPL-licensed software
> built with Fink won't link to non-GPL-licensed software if the package 
> description has been written correctly.
> (We occasionally find erroneous package descriptions but we fix them quickly.)
> Also, note that Fink does not currently do a binary distribution of anything, 
> due to a lack of manpower and
> appropriate automated tools to create a binary distribution we can vouch for. 
> Fink downloads source code, and uses the Apple-supplied build tools to build 
> and link that source code.  Every 
> Fink user compiles their own software.
> The issue for you, as I understand it, is that one has to make an additional 
> download of the build tools, and
> accept a license specific to them, beyond the non-free license one has 
> already accepted as a user of OS X.
> I don't know the difference between those licenses, but I'm not sure that it 
> matters:  the totality of the host
> system is non-free.
> (Note one crucial feature here is that OS X does not come with a compiler of 
> any kind by default.  At one time,
> there were several alternative compilers that one could acquire, but these 
> days I believe Apple's is the only one.)
> I agree that it is not an ideal situation that the build tools themselves are 
> not free.
>   -- Dave

And there's certainly nothing stopping an interested entity from forking
Fink to attempt to use a free build chain, if there's a standalone one
for OS X still out there somewhere.  Though some packages definitely
won't build, because they rely on Xcode-specific behaviors.
Alexander Hansen, Ph.D.
Fink User Liaison
My package updates:

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