Subject: Re: GNU licence question
To: Trevin Beattie <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: current-users
Date: 05/13/1997 09:49:44
On Tue, 13 May 1997, Trevin Beattie wrote:

> At 09:21 AM 5/13/97 +0200, you wrote:
> >
> >Do I understand it right I must distribute my program under GNU licence
> >if I use part of some other GNU program in it ?
> >
>   2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
> of
> it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
> distribute such
> modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
> above, provided that you
> also meet all of these conditions:
>     a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
>     stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.
>     b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
>     whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
>     part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
>     parties under the terms of this License.

So the answer is, "yes." That's the point. You can't take some GPL'd
program and use it in your commercial software and keep the source

There are ways around it. The license (for binaries) applies to linked
objects. If the GPL'd code is in a dynamically-linked library, you could
ship it along with your code, and just link them at run time. Note: the
library would need to be GPL'd, so you'd have to distribute its source.
You just don't have to GPL (or necessarily distribute) the source for the
other parts.

This restriction is why Linux and *BSD can't share code too well. There's
a lot of stuff in our kernel which isn't GPL'd but can be distributed as
long as you adhere to its conditions. Well, since its conditions aren't
GPL (nor have the restrictions of GPL), to GPL it would violate these code
chunks' copyright. Thus they can't mix. However a GPL'd lkm is ok wit a
*BSD kernel.

Take care,