Subject: Re: Assistance/advice in choosing a license for POV-Ray 4.0
From: Chris Cason <>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 00:56:48 +1100

To help me understand the linking issue a little more, I'd like to post
the following question:

Suppose there is an OSS library (for the sake of example let's say it's
under the GPL, though at this point the actual license doesn't matter as
long as it allows modification and free distribution), and that this
library is available in source and shared binary form on the internet*

Suppose also that this library contains code that is rather useful to a
vendor, who would rather use it then spend a large sum licensing a
commercially-available alternative or writing their own. However let's
say said vendor isn't all that keen to comply with those parts of the
library's license that don't suit it.

So the vendor goes off and sells the product that depends heavily on this
shared library for its operation, and at install time the library itself
is downloaded from the distribution site while the end-user waits, and is
installed on the target system. The vendors product then goes ahead and
uses this library without complying with any of the requirements of the

So my question is: does this violate the license ? It's clear that by
putting their library under the GPL the authors did not intend to allow
this to happen. Yet from what I've read here, if dynamic linking isn't
creating a derivative work, then the license doesn't apply and thus the
vendor isn't violating copyright.

-- Chris

* and if it wasn't already made available as a binary .so or DLL then it
  is trivial for the vendor to make it so.