Calling GPL code from a Python application

Paul Boddie paul at
Thu Jan 5 01:49:15 CET 2006

Tim Churches wrote:
> The key verb is "containing", and I'm sorry, but "link" (or "reference" or
> "call" or whatever other verb could reasonably used to describe
> dynamic run-time linking) does not mean the same as "contain".

What's interesting with respect to distribution of works (of course,
since the tangential coverage of the usage of a program isn't important
in this subthread) is that, to take one project built upon code
typically licensed under the GPL, the KDE developers provide various
libraries under a variety of licences:

It would surprise me if things like kdelibs weren't significantly
dependent on Qt, which in most (if not all) KDE-related situations is
distributed under the GPL. Yet a number of libraries and components
have other GPL-compatible licences such as the LGPL. And in the case of
some libraries such as KHTML the usage of the LGPL has permitted
similarly licensed variants such as WebCore which have no such
dependencies on Qt.

I'd echo many other people by saying that dynamic linking certainly
makes the situation more difficult to trivially comprehend, but I
suppose the GPL and associated explanations attempt to communicate the
assertion that distributing a program in binary executable form which
links to GPL-licensed libraries should be accompanied by the sources
for that program (or an offer to provide them), along with the
rationale that such a program is only useful in the presence of such
libraries and should therefore be considered as a larger work
comprising such libraries. Whether section 0 of the GPL (which states
this) can be realistically upheld is a matter for the legal profession,
I'd imagine.


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