Subject: Re: dumb GPL question
From: Greg Broiles <>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2001 13:27:50 -0700

At 09:29 PM 6/5/2001 +0200, Bernard Lang wrote:
>is it OK to link GPL code to preexisting non-GPL code (for example a
>library) ?

I don't think the age (or ordering of ages) of the code matters - if the 
linking is permissible, it's permissible, no matter which software was 
written first.

>else, how can one write GPL code in a non-GPL language ?
>   (i.e. a language with no GPL implementation, especially of the
>run-time library, even though it may be open-source)

The GPL code might be distributed as source code;

The author/owner of the copyright to the code doesn't need to abide by the 
GPL - they can do whatever they please, because their rights are limited by 
the underlying law, not the license granted via the GPL. Their rights would 
also be limited by the terms of the license(s) applying to the code they 
want to link to/with.

One can certainly write code in a non-GNU environment and then license that 
code to others using the terms of the GPL - if others find the combinations 
of license terms they're subject to unpleasant or inconvenient, they won't 
use the code.

If you combine your code with others' code, then want to license the result 
to others, you're limited by the most restrictive license any of the code 
is subject to, provided that the licenses are even internally compatible. 
It's the combining step that's difficult (and that creates the licensing 
headache), not the authorship of original code nor the granting of a 
license to use that original code pursuant to the terms of the GPL (or 
other licensing scheme).

Greg Broiles