[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.

Earnie Boyd earnie at users.sourceforge.net
Sun Sep 2 20:05:50 UTC 2007

Quoting Thomas Barregren <thomas at webbredaktoren.se>:

> Earnie,
> You said that "...there is a legal difference between 'statically 
> linked'  and 'dynamically linked' (DLL) code." And "[t]hat's why the 
> GPL and LGPL exist as  two separate licenses."

I don't think that was me.  I did respond to the query to explain.

> Since I am not aware of a *legal difference* I wondered if I might 
> have missed some subtlety. After all, I am not a lawyer. So that is 
> why I asked you to "explain this 'legal difference'." Unfortunately, 
> I didn't find the answer in your otherwise very interesting, but 
> partly wrong, reply.

LGPL provides an exception to the use of the library API.

> I claim that there is no legal difference between statically and 
> dynamically linked code. Let us assume you have developed a program P 
> which depends on objects or functions in a library L. Also assume 
> that you have obtained L under GPL. Now, it doesn't matter whether P 
> links to L at compile time (static linking) or at runtime (dynamic 
> linking). You are in both cases obliged to use GPL when distributing 
> P.
> In fact, the preamble of LGPL v2 explicit states that there is no 
> difference between statically linked and dynamically linked (a.k.a. 
> shared) libraries:
>    "When a program is linked with a library, whether statically or
>    using a shared library, the combination of the two is legally
>    speaking a combined work, a derivative of the original library."
> As a corollary, I claim there is another motivation of LGPL. Quoting 
> LGPL v2 again:
>    For example, on rare occasions, there may be a special need to
>    encourage the widest possible use of a certain library, so that it
>    becomes a de-facto standard. To achieve this, non-free programs must
>    be allowed to use the library. A more frequent case is that a free
>    library does the same job as widely used non-free libraries. In this
>    case, there is little to gain by limiting the free library to free
>    software only, so we use the Lesser General Public License.
>    In other cases, permission to use a particular library in non-free
>    programs enables a greater number of people to use a large body of
>    free software. For example, permission to use the GNU C Library in
>    non-free programs enables many more people to use the whole GNU
>    operating system, as well as its variant, the GNU/Linux operating
>    system.

All I can say is that I agree.

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