OpenPGP Card

David Picon Alvarez eleuteri at
Tue Sep 6 22:46:48 CEST 2005

> But this is the opposite the GPL program uses a none GPLed library with
> linkage to it!!!
> I don't understand why we always turn the facts around.

It's the same, combination and derivation trigger the copyright, and the GPL
_requires_ the combined whole work to be covered by the GPL.
So if I link to non-GPL library the linking against non-GPL code taints
mine, and if someone links to my GPLed library my GPL requirement has to be

> Let's say my Api is as follows:
> int do_work (int argc, void *argv[]);
> Now I load a shared library, get the do_work address and call it by:
> int (*do_work)(int argc, void *argv[]) = get_do_work_address ();
> char *args[] = {
> "ls",
> "-l"
> );
> do_work (2, argv);
> What is the difference between calling this shared library or executing a
> none GPLed "ls"?!?!?!?

The difference is in the copying. Copyright is triggered by copying, not
use. When you call a program and it executes independently you do not create
or combine or derive in the meaning of copyright, because you are not
engaging in copying and aggregating onto your own code. When you link a
library you do.

> Again... I am sorry but I must disagree... WHERE THE CODE RUN  IS NOT AN
> The issue is how tightly your code is with another code.

Part of the issue is that, since, as I said later, API itself can have some
degree of copyright protection. But it is generally believed by FSF that
sharing an address space implies creating a combined and/or derived work.

> In your view I can write a PKCS#11 daemon that exposes SOAP as protocol...
> And this way to use PKCS#11 in GPLed application.
> But I cannot use the PKCS#11 directly...

Correct, if you write a daemon no copy occurs, thus no triggering of

> This is CRAZY!!! You are fooling your-self if you think there is a
> difference between the two...
> If the usage of PKCS#11 caused your application to violate the GPL
> then the usage of the same API through SOAP will cause the same affect!

See above.

> I cannot imagine that the lower who wrote the GPL meant that the open
> community's programmers should work so hard in order to implement their
> software... I think this is your interpretation... I've written FSF and I
> hope they will address this issue.

The lawyer who wrote GPL wrote it with the explicit intent to incentive
programmers to write free software and keep software free. Allowing linkage
to or from NON-GPL code is generally considered to be counterproductive for
the purposes stated.


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