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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] GPL query

From: Michael Dorrington
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] GPL query
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2010 13:28:57 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20100328)

Luke Taylor wrote:
> Hi all,
> I was hoping that somebody could clarify for me the reach of the GPL.
> I am developing a complex system for University, much of which is
> required to be proprietary. I am interested in using the GPL licensed
> "PYQT" framework to make a GUI for this proprietary system. Would
> this be allowed?

Short answer is <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfLibraryIsGPL>:

If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that mean
that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL or a
GPL-compatible license?

    Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library.

> In an interpreted language, what counts as "statically linked" and
> what doesn't seems really blurry. I guess that if the proprietary
> system sent and recieved data from the PyQT based GUI via ethernet
> packets then all would be well but if the connection between the two
> modules of software was more like library function calls then it
> would not? Can any legal eagles clarify the situation for me.

What if my school might want to make my program into its own proprietary
software product?

    Many universities nowadays try to raise funds by restricting the use
of the knowledge and information they develop, in effect behaving little
different from commercial businesses. (See “The Kept University”,
Atlantic Monthly, March 2000, for a general discussion of this problem
and its effects.)

    If you see any chance that your school might refuse to allow your
program to be released as free software, it is best to raise the issue
at the earliest possible stage. The closer the program is to working
usefully, the more temptation the administration might feel to take it
from you and finish it without you. At an earlier stage, you have more

    So we recommend that you approach them when the program is only
half-done, saying, “If you will agree to releasing this as free
software, I will finish it.” Don't think of this as a bluff. To prevail,
you must have the courage to say, “My program will have liberty, or
never be born.”

> Luke 


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