[IPython-dev] IPython pyreadline improvement of IPython

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Sun Jan 29 16:55:37 EST 2006

Ville Vainio wrote:
> On 1/29/06, Fernando Perez <Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu> wrote:
>>Finally, it's important to note that there are rumblings in python-dev about
>>perhaps dropping readline support from Python in the future.  The problem is
>>that readline is GPL, and it's not 100% clear whether Python may be violating
>>the GPL by linking to it as it does today.  This is all the more reason to
> It may also be said that dropping readline from official python distro
> would be a slight boost for ipython, which doesn't need to care about
> GPL (BSD license is GPL compatible). I rarely find myself using the
> plain old python console anymore.

Well, the point is that since we'd be writing our _own_ readline, the license 
of the FSF readline wouldn't matter: we wouldn't be using it.  If such an 
effort were successful across platforms, core python could take our own 
readline to replace their bindings to FSF-readline without fear.  The problem 
is the 'viral' nature of the GPL: technically, Python _may_ be in violation of 
the GPL by using readline and Python not being ALL GPL.  If the FSF went after 
Python, they'd have to either:

1. Change ALL of python to GPL

2. Drop readline.

Since 1 is out of the question, 2 would be the inevitable outcome.

Given that readline is absolutely central to ipython's functionality, the 
timing of our incorporating Gary's readline into our tree, and his idea of 
porting this to *nix, appears perfect.



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