Subject: Re: Still puzzled by GPL if used with proprietary run-time libraries
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 06:33:59 +0000

Marcel van der Boom wrote:
> In moving our company to produce only free software, license evaluating is
> obviously important. Im am still puzzled by whether I am able to use the GPL
> or need to write my own license (which is a waste of time, considering the
> GPL states exactly what we want in the long run)
> Personally, I would like to go "all the way" and use the GPL.
> However, it is not very clear to me if I'm allowed to use the GPL in the
> following situations:
> 1. Delphi based programs.
> Is it allowed to put a GPL on our programs when using (for now) Delphi as
> our development environment. When using the software package you need some
> libs from Borland which are not free.
> 2. MS-Access based programs.
> Even more difficult. MS-Access based programs not only use proprietary
> libraries, but the source code can only be distributed in the proprietary
> format (in this case mdb file).


I asked a similar question several months ago on news:gnu.misc.disc and
one or more of and/or 
The issue is when having one or more programs depend on another might
involve copyright issues.  The specific legal mechanism at work is that
combining two works creates a derived work of both origninals.  In the
case of GNU GPL, specific instances may be allowed or disallowed.  The
general guidance was that if seperate processes communicated via
parameters (e.g.:  code was never mingled in one process) or if one
process called both code bases, but merely passed arguements from one to
another (e.g.:  a scripting language), that copyright issues would
likely not arise.

Also, GNU GPL makes a specific exemption for "parts of the operating
system".  In this case you might merely need to wait a year or so for
MSFT to bundle Access with the OS (or find a clever lawyer to argue that
this has already transpired).

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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