Calling GPL code from a Python application

Heiko Wundram modelnine at
Wed Jan 4 02:26:43 EST 2006

Mike Meyer wrote:
> Heiko Wundram <modelnine at> writes:
>> The stance the FSF (and it's lawyers) take on this is that it is illegal
>> to dynamically link applications that are not under a GPL-compatible
>> license to GPL works
> I doubt that, because it's simply not true. I can use GPL'ed code any
> way I want to - that's part of the point of the GPL. I can change it
> however I want, print it in whatever font I want on whatever material
> I want, hang the result on the wall, and - most importantly - link it
> with whatever other code I want.

You're nitpicking here, if I may say so. Of course, if you create the
derivative work inside your head, you're not going to distribute it and as
such the GPL distribution clauses don't apply. But: as soon as you write a
program, even for inhouse use (and not distributing it externally), which
will be the norm for a programmer like the OP, you're bound to the
distribution laws of the GPL.

(I guess pretty much nobody programs seriously just to jerk off to how good
he is, everybody wants others to use what he has created)

Anyway, it's not true either that if you link to a GPL-led library, your
work must automatically be GPL. The FSF has specifically endorsed
applications under several other OS-licenses which are basically more
liberal than the GPL to link against GPL libraries. These licenses have to
meet certain criteria, and I'm not exactly sure which, please go and see
the FSF for more info. In case you create an immediate derivative work of
the library (by changing it's sources directly), you have to put the
resulting code under the GPL, of course, if you're going to distribute it.

IANAL. But I've created so many works under a BSD-license that I've made
sure I'm not betting my but on being sued by a GPL-led project. ;-)

--- Heiko.

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