possible readline license problem with ghc and -package util
Sven Moritz Hallberg
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 19:06:49 +0200
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On Tuesday 11. June 2002 17:18, Simon Marlow wrote:
> > 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.
> Yes, you're right. I hadn't noticed that readline was GPL and not LGPL=
> The BSD license is "compatible" with the GPL, so according to the FSF, =
> because GHCi is linked with readline doesn't mean we have to license th=
> whole of GHC and its libraries under the GPL. But we do have to make G=
> "available under the GPL" whatever that means. Actually I'm dubious ab=
> the notion of compatible licenses - I read the GPL carefully and I stil=
> don't see how it is compatible with the BSD license at all (I'm not the
> only person to have noticed this, see for example
> I think realistically we have to ditch readline for GHCi and use someth=
> with a friendlier license. BSD's libedit is a possibility.
Is it as good as readline? At least I have to date "felt" that readline i=
> As for the readline library that GHC provides, I think that will have t=
> move into its own package: we knew we would have to start a separate
> package for GPL libraries at some point, it looks like we've reached th=
> This is *so* annoying when all we're trying to do is write free softwar=
> here. Grrrr.
:) The question here is, are you (plural) really trying to write Free Sof=
or just giving something away now, which will be closed and hogged later?
I'm being provocative, I know. I'm not trying to insult though, just to=20
encourage a creative discussion.
That said, although I'm not an expert on licenses, I believe the effect y=
seeing is the whole idea behind the GPL: Anybody writing truly Free Softw=
should have no problem with it, while any non-free efforts are left out. =
don't know whether the FSF would call GHC non-free, I don't think so, but=
it has a problem with the GPL, they'd surely at least suspect it might be=
unfree in the future. This is also the reason I'm writing this email, bec=
I feel the same suspicion in myself. I'd like to hear your (again, plural=
comments on this issue, because as it stands, I keep a mark in my head sa=
"GHC doesn't want to be GPL... why? - Would they close it once they smell=
money in it?". I have that fear, and I'd be really happy if someone could=
relieve me of it. I'll admit here (for the sake of honesty) that `grep=20
microsoft ghc/README` adds to the effect.
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