GPL and Python modules.

marcus at marcus at
Wed Oct 27 19:16:52 CEST 2004

Grant Edwards wrote:

>Let's say I use a GPL'd python module (e.g. something installed
>in site-packages) in an application.
>Let's also say I use py2exe to package and distribute said
>Is what I'm distributing a "derived work" of the GPL'd python?
>Or is py2exe's packaging of the module's .pyc file and my
>application code's .pyc files a "mere aggregation" so that I
>only have to provide source code for the GPL'ed module and not
>for my application code?
>IOW, do I have to GPL my application code and distribute source
>code for it?

Here's my personal spin on it - I think that if your distributed binary 
will contain GPL'ed code, that simplifies it - it makes your distributed 
binary subject to the terms of the GPL.

Yet again, personal interpretation abounds, but in the spirit of the 
GPL, if *what you actually distribute* for people to run *contains* the 
GPL'ed stuff and uses it, then it's surely a derivative work, is it not?

If you wanted to avoid the issue with the library, it'd be worth 
reimplementing it or offering it separately.

Overall, if you're going to release modules and insist GPLness, they 
should really be released under the LGPL by convention shouldn't they?

Maybe you should contact the developer about that.

I really wish people would consider the LGPL when they're releasing 
libraries etc. - OSS developers need to realise that it's encumbent on 
them not to erode or threaten the legal status of the GPL, and that 
releasing software under the GPL in this manner not only throws things 
into uncertainty, but could (and IANAL so feel free to enlighten me 
here) ultimately end up with the GPL being compromised in court in 
future IP disputes, couldn't it?

I'd almost prefer to boycott software that uses the GPL frivolously or 
inappropriately, because I fear it could threaten the GPL's existence 

</high horse>

Anyway, have you come to a conclusion on this one? (or have I missed a post)

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