[Python-Dev] VC 7.1 maintenance?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Sat Jun 26 15:51:09 EDT 2004

>>>>> "Tim" == Tim Peters <tim.peters at gmail.com> writes:

    Tim> [Phil Thompson]

    >> Actually, it's simpler than that. From the GPL FAQ:

    >> "I'm writing a Windows application with Microsoft Visual C++
    >> (or Visual Basic) and I will be releasing it under the GPL.  Is
    >> dynamically linking my program with the Visual C++ (or Visual
    >> Basic) run-time library permitted under the GPL?

    >> Yes, because that run-time library normally accompanies the
    >> compiler or interpreter you are using."

That's weird; that kind of blanket statement simply is not compatible
with the letter of the GPL.  I wonder if Eben Moglen vets that FAQ.

They must be assuming that the run-time library is "compiler helper"
stuff, eg-but-not-limited-to code to handle long long ints and set up
the C++ exception and global constructors, etc.  So msvcrt should be
fine.  The interpretation is that this is code whose presence is
mandated in one form or another by the language definition.  Then it
could be generated at build time by the compiler, but instead it's
"pregenerated" and supplied as a library.  The GPL doesn't care
whether the translator is implemented via inline code generation or by
library calls.

In other words, if you call any functions in mscvrt directly, then
you've probably got GPL issues.  If you use proprietary language
extensions implemented as library calls, you may have GPL issues.  But
if all calls are implicit in standard C code that could just as well
be open-coded, or linked with cygwin.dll or libgcc1 and crt.o, no problem.

    >> My (incorrect) understanding was that "operating system" was
    >> meant rather than "compiler or interpreter".

Unfortunately, not all official statements by the FSF are vetted by
lawyers.  Don't conclude you were incorrect until you've gotten legal
advice from a lawyer with his lawyer hat on (either yours or the FSF's).

However, in this case I would guess that this has nothing to do with
the "operating system exception."

    Tim> Heh.  That's what I meant by

    Tim>     Regardless of internal consistency, I expect they'll
    Tim> develop a rationale for saying "sure, fine".

Heh, good luck.  Ask Peter Deutsch or the guys at TrollTech about that.

    Tim> This is why you have to ask the FSF directly about what they
    Tim> mean: since the meaning Of the GPL has never been clarified
    Tim> via court rulings, in practice it means whatever the FSF says
    Tim> it means, and that can't always be predicted from what the
    Tim> GPL actually says.

The real reason for asking the FSF, of course, is that legal advice
from the FSF is free-as-in-free-beer, while your lawyer will get a
vacation on the Riviera for answering that question, despite being far
less expert than Eben Moglen.

[Aside: It's both not as bad as you suggest, and far worse than that.
But that's not relevant today.]

Of course, the usual dysclaimer: I ANAL.

But-I'm-writing-this-to-avoid-my-real-work-ly y'rs,

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your bu

More information about the Python-Dev mailing list