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[Caml-list] License Conditions for OCaml
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Date: 2001-11-09 (09:00)
From: Sven <luther@d...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] License Conditions for OCaml
On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 11:30:56PM -0500, Patrick M Doane wrote:
> Earlier this year there was a discussion about the problems of using LGPL
> for the OCaml run-time system and associated libraries.
> It was suggested that some of the constraints in the LGPL were not
> intended. To quote a page from the Caml website:
>   "The LGPL puts no restrictions at all on programs linked with LGPL-ed
> libraries. Thus, users are free to distribute (or not) OCaml-generated
> binaries under whatever conditions they like."
> >From my reading of the LGPL, which seems to correspond with the opinions
> of others on the list, this just isn't true.  If I develop an application
> with OCaml, I must distribute that application with source code.  This

No, the worse that happens is that you must distribute the .cmo, .cmi, .cmx,
and possibly .o, hopefully with a working makefile, but this last one is not

The reason for that, in the C context (you need the .o only), is so if you
link with a buggy version of the LGPLed library, your client, or whatever, can
correct the LGPLed library, or grab a fixed version from the net, and rebuild
your app without the bug.

I don't know if this is really possible in the ocaml case, but i am sure
Xavier or someone else from the ocaml team will clarify it for us. But anyway,
i don't think, need to check though, that it needs to be rebuildable with the
latest version of ocaml, just the one you build your app with, but that,
altough not written explicitly, must also be one of the information you
provide your clients.

This last point would be greatly simplified if the ocaml compiler suite
comprised a little tool to check for the versions of ocaml used to build an
object file.

Also you only need to distribute this object files to the persons you
distribute the files to, and you even can only offer for people to get them on
your web site, or offer them per mail on a request, charging no more than the
shipping fee, but you have to guarantee that this offer stays valid for at
least 3 years.

Is this still unaceptable, or do you think this clarification will be ok with
you ?

That said, another solution would be to distribute the runtime systeme under a
dual licence, but you could not link it with GPLed code if you choose the
other non-GPL compatible licence. This is what trolltech did for the Qt libs.

> Will this problem be fixed for the 3.03 release?

As said, it is not really a licence problem, more a perception problem of the


Sven Luther
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