Calling GPL code from a Python application

Peter Hansen peter at
Tue Jan 3 21:25:11 EST 2006

Mike Meyer wrote:
> What I *can't* do is distribute it (or work derived from it, etc.)
> unless the entire work being distributed is under the GPL (unless the
> license has changed recently, *not* a GPL-compatible license, but the
> GPL itself), and meets the requirements of the that license. In
> particular, if I distribute an application that has to be dynamically
> linked with a GPL'ed library to run, I need to distribute my
> application under the terms of the GPL.

Is that really true, precisely as written?

It should be possible to distribute code which does have to be 
dynamically linked with a GPL'ed library in order to run *without* 
having to distribute under the GPL, provided your distribution *does not 
include* the GPL'ed library.

Am I totally misremembering that the terms of the GPL talk only about 
*distributing* GPLed code, not about using it, and certainly not about 
writing other applications which might require it but which might have 
entirely non-compatible licenses.

(Depending on one's definition of "application", you could still be 
right because what I describe -- a program that can't run without adding 
something else to it first -- might not be considered an application by 
some people.  I wonder what they'd call it though.)


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