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Subject: Re: [hwloc-devel] libpci: GPL
From: Christopher Samuel (samuel_at_[hidden])
Date: 2013-02-18 23:26:47

Hash: SHA1

 * Trying to catch up with email, but I've not seen the question of
 * whether or not linking proprietary->BSD->GPL was OK or not addressed
 * yet.

On 06/02/13 08:50, Jeff Squyres (jsquyres) wrote:

> It was just pointed out to me that libpci is licensed under the GPL
> (not the LGPL).
> Hence, even though hwloc is BSD, if it links to libpci.*, it's
> tainted.

I wouldn't say hwloc is tainted, more that you were tainting the GPL'd
code by linking the proprietary code to it, but that's just case of
perspective. ;-)

After a brief search of the GPL FAQs I'd say the closest I can get is:

# I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary
# system. Can I do this by putting a “wrapper” module, under a
# GPL-compatible lax permissive license (such as the X11 license)
# in between the GPL-covered part and the proprietary part?
# No. The X11 license is compatible with the GPL, so you can add a
# module to the GPL-covered program and put it under the X11 license.
# But if you were to incorporate them both in a larger program, that
# whole would include the GPL-covered part, so it would have to be
# licensed as a whole under the GNU GPL.
# The fact that proprietary module A communicates with GPL-covered
# module C only through X11-licensed module B is legally irrelevant;
# what matters is the fact that module C is included in the whole.

So yes, if you want to permit proprietary code to link to hwloc then
you need to stick to permissive licenses in hwlocs dependencies.

Disclaimer: IANAL, I don't play a lawyer on TV (or the Internet),
batteries not included, caveat emptor, dates in calendar are closer
than they appear, etc, etc, etc...

Of course it might be possible to ask the pciutils maintainer to split
out libpci from pciutils and LGPL it.

Interestingly, Steam for Linux appears to have linked to libpci..

- --
 Christopher Samuel Senior Systems Administrator
 VLSCI - Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative
 Email: samuel_at_[hidden] Phone: +61 (0)3 903 55545

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