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Re: [OctDev] Octave-forge packaging

From: Rafael Laboissiere
Subject: Re: [OctDev] Octave-forge packaging
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 18:12:55 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040907i

* John W. Eaton <address@hidden> [2005-04-23 11:39]:

> I suggest reading
>   http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#FSWithNFLibs
> and
>   http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs
> Note that the answer to the second question explains that you can add
> an exception to the GPL so that software you write can link to
> non-free libraries.  But that will only work if ALL the parts of your
> code are covered by a license with the exception.  Since you are also
> linking with Octave, which does not include an exception to allow
> linking with non-free software, then linking to non-free libraries is
> not allowed.
> | I wrote the octave-gpc binding and decided to release it under the GPL.
> | This means that if one day someone writes a GPLed drop-in replacement for
> | GPC, then the binding can be used freely.
> But until then, you have a problem because you only have the non-free
> library to link with, and the GPL does not permit this by default.

Thanks for bringing this issue to my attention, I was not aware of it.
The first paragraph of the first question reads:

    If you do this, your program won't be fully usable in a free
    environment. If your program depends on a non-free library to do a
    certain job, it cannot do that job in the Free World. If it depends
    on a non-free library to run at all, it cannot be part of a free
    operating system such as GNU; it is entirely off limits to the Free

My understanding of what is written above is that the octave-gpc binding
is pretty useless in the Free World, but that I am not prevented to
release it under the GPL.  People are just prevented to freely
redistribute the linked result Octave/GPC/octave-gpc, but they are
allowed to install the packages and use this linked result in their

As regards the second question, there is nothing in the GPC package that
prevents linking it against a GPL program.  

> | Notice also that the octave-gpc package in Debian is in the contrib
> | section, not in main.
> I don't think that where the package is stored in the collection makes
> any difference.

You are right.  I just mention that for the record.


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