Open Source License Question

Robert Kern rkern at
Sat Oct 30 05:38:38 CEST 2004

Josiah Carlson wrote:


> If other posters on this topic are correct; you don't need to lose your
> application in order to use that GPL library, you merely need to write a
> wrapper for that library, which is then released under the GPL.  Since
> you are the original author, you can do whatever you want with the
> wrapper; including using it in a commercial setting where you don't
> release your application.
> The wrapper is the derivative work, which is licensed under the GPL. 
> But being the original author, you can do whatever you want with the
> wrapper, including using it from a non-GPL'd piece of software, without
> needing to tell anyone about it.
> If anyone asks about the fact that your main software is not GPL'd,
> point them to the wrapper software, and as long as your wrapper is
> nontrivial, I don't believe it is a big deal.

What kind of wrapper are you talking about? An executable program that 
communicates with the rest of your software via pipes? If you are 
linking in the GPL library and distributing the result, the whole code 
must be licensed compatibly with the GPL no matter how much wrapper code 
you put around it.

Robert Kern
rkern at

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
  Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
   -- Richard Harter

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