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Given your description, I think A and B is irrelevant to the question, what matters is C and D, and the question comes down to whether or not GPL allows dynamic linking. If anyone may violate the GPL, it is C if it is not under GPL.

The situation

After some digging around, I found that the Wikipedia GPL article has a good summary of the issue. The answer is: it is disputed. The three existing standpoints, according to this article:

  • Both dynamic and static linking violates1 the GPL. This is the standpoint of the makers of the GPL (the Free Software Foundation), and they created the LGPL for this reason (to allow dynamic linking without violation).

  • Static linking violates, but the GPL is not clear about dynamic linking: It is hard to tell since the GPL does not provide clear instruction about what is considered derivative work.

  • Linking is irrelevant: GPL should only apply to source code-level. In my opinion this is the most sane option, since linking to a software to access its functionality is akin to pushing a button on a GUI to do the same thing.

Since the FSF says its intention with the GPL is to disallow both, I think it is wiser to either

  • respect that intention and use GPL on your own work if you link to GPL, even if the wording is not clear

  • or stay away from GPL software

Ironically, the GPL is not as free/libre as one would think. I know there is a reason for that, but my point is: don't put GPL on your software without thinking. If you are looking for a free and permissive license, the MIT or BSD licenses might represent your intentions better.


1: when I say "violates" I mean it violates iff the "consumer" of the linking is not under GPL.

Given your description, I think A and B is irrelevant to the question, what matters is C and D, and the question comes down to whether or not GPL allows dynamic linking.

After some digging around, I found that the Wikipedia GPL article has a good summary of the issue. The answer is: it is disputed. The three existing standpoints, according to this article:

  • Both dynamic and static linking violates1 the GPL. This is the standpoint of the makers of the GPL (the Free Software Foundation), and they created the LGPL for this reason (to allow dynamic linking without violation).

  • Static linking violates, but the GPL is not clear about dynamic linking: It is hard to tell since the GPL does not provide clear instruction about what is considered derivative work.

  • Linking is irrelevant: GPL should only apply to source code-level. In my opinion this is the most sane option, since linking to a software to access its functionality is akin to pushing a button on a GUI to do the same thing.

Since the FSF says its intention with the GPL is to disallow both, I think it is wiser to either

  • respect that intention and use GPL on your own work if you link to GPL, even if the wording is not clear

  • or stay away from GPL software

Ironically, the GPL is not as free/libre as one would think. I know there is a reason for that, but my point is: don't put GPL on your software without thinking. If you are looking for a free and permissive license, the MIT or BSD licenses might represent your intentions better.


1: when I say "violates" I mean it violates iff the "consumer" of the linking is not under GPL.

Given your description, I think A and B is irrelevant to the question, what matters is C and D, and the question comes down to whether or not GPL allows dynamic linking. If anyone may violate the GPL, it is C if it is not under GPL.

The situation

After some digging around, I found that the Wikipedia GPL article has a good summary of the issue. The answer is: it is disputed. The three existing standpoints, according to this article:

  • Both dynamic and static linking violates1 the GPL. This is the standpoint of the makers of the GPL (the Free Software Foundation), and they created the LGPL for this reason (to allow dynamic linking without violation).

  • Static linking violates, but the GPL is not clear about dynamic linking: It is hard to tell since the GPL does not provide clear instruction about what is considered derivative work.

  • Linking is irrelevant: GPL should only apply to source code-level. In my opinion this is the most sane option, since linking to a software to access its functionality is akin to pushing a button on a GUI to do the same thing.

Since the FSF says its intention with the GPL is to disallow both, I think it is wiser to either

  • respect that intention and use GPL on your own work if you link to GPL, even if the wording is not clear

  • or stay away from GPL software

Ironically, the GPL is not as free/libre as one would think. I know there is a reason for that, but my point is: don't put GPL on your software without thinking. If you are looking for a free and permissive license, the MIT or BSD licenses might represent your intentions better.


1: when I say "violates" I mean it violates iff the "consumer" of the linking is not under GPL.

1
source | link

Given your description, I think A and B is irrelevant to the question, what matters is C and D, and the question comes down to whether or not GPL allows dynamic linking.

After some digging around, I found that the Wikipedia GPL article has a good summary of the issue. The answer is: it is disputed. The three existing standpoints, according to this article:

  • Both dynamic and static linking violates1 the GPL. This is the standpoint of the makers of the GPL (the Free Software Foundation), and they created the LGPL for this reason (to allow dynamic linking without violation).

  • Static linking violates, but the GPL is not clear about dynamic linking: It is hard to tell since the GPL does not provide clear instruction about what is considered derivative work.

  • Linking is irrelevant: GPL should only apply to source code-level. In my opinion this is the most sane option, since linking to a software to access its functionality is akin to pushing a button on a GUI to do the same thing.

Since the FSF says its intention with the GPL is to disallow both, I think it is wiser to either

  • respect that intention and use GPL on your own work if you link to GPL, even if the wording is not clear

  • or stay away from GPL software

Ironically, the GPL is not as free/libre as one would think. I know there is a reason for that, but my point is: don't put GPL on your software without thinking. If you are looking for a free and permissive license, the MIT or BSD licenses might represent your intentions better.


1: when I say "violates" I mean it violates iff the "consumer" of the linking is not under GPL.