[thelist] GNU / GPL

Stephen Rider evolt_org at striderweb.com
Wed Oct 24 18:09:54 CDT 2007

On Oct 24, 2007, at 1:46 PM, Shawn K. Quinn wrote:

> On Wed, 2007-10-24 at 11:04 -0500, Stephen Rider wrote:
>> I believe I have seen software that, the first time you run it, goes
>> on the internet and downloads needed GPL libraries and installs
>> them.  This is supposedly a workaround because the GPLed library is
>> not actually distributed with the software itself.
>> I have no idea of the legality of this.  It's possible the software
>> authors doing this break the law.  But I have definitely seen it
>> more than once in non-GPL applications.  Worht checking into.
> If this was as widespread as you say it is, I'm surprised nothing was
> said about it while GPL version 3 was being drafted recently. Maybe  
> it's
> technically within even the spirit of the GPL by a hair, but I
> definitely smell a rat.

I'm a Mac guy, and I play a lot with shareware and freeware.  IIRC,  
I've seen this in various implementations of video-related software  
for the Mac, which are generally themselves ports of *nix programs  
with a GUI slapped on.

Didn't say it was kosher, just that it's done.  For Fred's situation,  
however, the legality is at least worth checking out, I would think.

The requirement that you release the source code makes commercial  
software effectively free, as anyone with a bit of know-how can take  
your source and compile it as the full program.  Am I mistaken in  
this?  Please do correct me if I'm wrong -- this topic _does_  
interest me.


More information about the thelist mailing list