Better proxy support available via libcurl?

David Shaw dshaw at
Fri Aug 4 02:54:01 CEST 2006

On Fri, Aug 04, 2006 at 08:57:03AM +0930, Alphax wrote:
> David Shaw wrote:
> <snip>
> > Like I said, I'm perfectly okay doing nothing, but now that the issue
> > has been raised, it is difficult to just drop, as we have a problem
> > today that needs an answer: it has been asserted that distributing
> > binaries of GnuPG that link to libcurl built on OpenSSL violates the
> > GPL.  That is to say, it is *against the law* to do so, and the
> > copyright holder of GnuPG (FSF) could, if they chose to, take the
> > infringer to court.
> > 
> > It is not right to make such a statement and then walk away.  All that
> > accomplishes is to create FUD, and if a packager decides to throw up
> > their hands and not package GnuPG rather then get involved in these
> > questions, then we have caused harm.
> > 
> How hard is it to determine if libcurl has been built against OpenSSL or
> not? One possible solution would be to detect if it had been during the
> autoconf/automake process and not link to libcurl if it was (overridable
> somehow?); if it was, /then/ start printing big warnings.

We are technical people and so always think in terms of a technical
solution (if we just linked to XXXXX, or defined YYYYY as part of the
OS, or did such-and-such in autoconf, etc, etc).  I have been doing
that also, and it is not getting anywhere.  The reality is that we
can't have a technical solution until we know what the problem is, or
even if there is a problem.

> > I think we need an official answer yes or no whether this is legal as
> > things are now.  It is difficult to design for the future if we do not
> > know where we stand today.
> > 
> Has anyone asked on debian-legal or similar?

Countless times.  And countless programmers with no legal training
(like me) have given our opinions.  Just google for "openssl curl gpl
violation" and watch the sparks fly.  Like Robert Hansen noted, all
that doesn't really amount to much as a) we're not copyright lawyers,
and b) we're not the copyright holder.

I really think the FSF, as the copyright holder, needs to say yes or
no to this indirect linking question.  Perhaps they already have, but
I have looked and cannot find a reference to it.  Once there is an
official answer, then we at least know where we stand and can talk
about a solution, if needed.


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