[Haskell-cafe] [Cabal-devel] Cabal && license combinations

Ketil Malde ketil at malde.org
Fri Feb 11 11:46:10 CET 2011

Chris Smith <cdsmith at gmail.com> writes:

> actually matter.  The instant anyone actually compiles an application
> that uses your library, however indirectly, they are bound by the terms

There are other uses for code than compilation.  Let's say I wrote a
wrapper for a proprietary library that connects to Oracle databases.
Any program using this would likely be undistributable.  Still, having
the wrapper free would allow porting it to a free database back end or
using it for teaching, so there's always added value in added freedom.

>> So this may be a problem for distributions, which ship compiled and
>> linked binaries.  But generally not for authors, darcs repositories or
>> Hackage, which only ship source code.

> Of course it is a concern for authors!

I don't think you are contradicting me here.  My point is that authors
are not likely to be liable or bound by other's licenses - whether they
are concerned or not, is up to them.

> The reasonable expectation in Haskell is that they'll probably
> statically link; and you should read licenses of your dependencies,
> and carefully choose dependencies, accordingly.

I think usability goes way beyond redistributability, but I
guess we should just agree to disagree on this.

IMO, the important thing is that cabal avoids imposing legal
straightjackets on authors, and that it avoids making legal
interpretations.  Echoing facts from cabal files is okay, but drawing
legal conclusions based on these facts should be the responsibility
(i.e. both obligation and liability) of the individual user.

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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