possible readline license problem with ghc and -package util

Martin Norbäck martin.norback@safelogic.se
11 Jun 2002 16:03:14 +0200

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I have a problem with the readline license that applies to ghc, and
programs compiled with ghc.

The readline library is under the GPL license. This means that any
program (including ghc) that links with this library must itself be
licensed under the GPL.

This is very unfortunate. I would suspect that this only applies if you
actually use the Readline module, so I can just avoid that.

However, using -package lang (to get the GetOpt module) links with
-lreadline even though it's not necessary. So the resulting binary is
dynamically linked with libreadline. My meaning is that this is not a
license violation of readline, but I am no lawyer, and I recall Richard
Stallman of the FSF says differently.

Linking statically with -lreadline may be a solution, since the linker
is smart and removes unused code in statically linked libraries. If only
I could be sure that that's the fact.

I think most ghc users have better things to do than to track licenses
of libraries that ghc links your program to, so I suggest that the
Readline module is either removed or moved to a separate package, so
that there is no doubt that it's not linked in.

Another question is what to do with ghc, ghc uses readline and is not
licensed under the GPL. A possible GPL violation, at least it would be
according to Richard Stallman.



Martin Norb=E4ck                         Safelogic AB
martin.norback@safelogic.se            Stena Center 1C
+46 (0)31 772 81 70                    S-412 92 G=D6TEBORG
http://www.safelogic.se                SWEDEN

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