[Python-Dev] Optionally using GMP to implement long if available

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Nov 4 12:31:19 CET 2008

Thomas Wouters writes:

 > Ah, but not true according to who? [...]

 > It is certainly the case that such a combination is enough to scare
 > off corporate lawyers who aren't sure either (most of them, I bet)
 > and would advise against using that build of Python because of the
 > LGPL components.

I don't think this is a matter of "according to whom", except where
you have a timid client and a FUD-ful lawyer, which is a plausible
case, I admit.  Copyright law is very literal about this kind of
thing, and does not distinguish between bytes that represent a
symbolic name for a function, and bytes that represent the address of
the function.  If the LGPL licenses symbolic references as long as the
function object code is not copied into your executable, then
numerical addresses are also OK as long as the function object code is
not copied into the executable you distribute.

I agree the language used in the LGPL is unfortunately imprecise.  But
the FSF's intent and understanding is quite clear about the issues you
raise.  See their License FAQ and David Turner's article about Java
vs. the LGPL:


I see nothing anywhere to indicate that the FSF thinks that the LGPL
should work differently in a practical sense on Windows than it does
on GNU/Linux, and while Turner's article refers to language
environments rather than OSes, it's pretty clear that the assertion
that "the LGPL just works as intended and expected" applies to OS
environments too.

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