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Ocaml license - why not GPL?
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Date: 2005-01-31 (08:02)
From: Sven Luther <sven.luther@w...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Ocaml license - why not GPL?
On Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 08:47:14AM +0100, Alex Baretta wrote:
> Sven Luther wrote:
> >On Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 08:03:47AM +0100, Alex Baretta wrote:
> >
> >>Hmmm... This is an interesting point! The toplevel library includes the 
> >>compiler code, which is licensed under the QPL, but yet somehow must be 
> >>allowed to link to GPLed libraries and programs. If the toplevel library 
> >>may not be linked with GPLed code, then the toplevel itself become 
> >>hardly usable, and a significant portion of my code, which is GPLed and 
> >>links the toplevel library, would be illegal.
> >
> >
> >Indeed.
> This bothers me quite a bit. Am I to expect a legal pursuit from INRIA 
> for violating the QPL for having released mixed GPL+QPL code? Or am I to 
> pursue myself because the QPL breaks my own GPLed code?

Well, i doubt any of the above will happen. In your case this is not a real
issue anyway, and a simple mail from the ocaml team authorizing your usage
should be ok. Not sure about the GPL part of it though, especially once you
start distributing your work. You may release your own code under the GPL,
with the exception that it may be linked with the ocaml toplevel, which is
what i have done for a kernel driver module which links with a binary only
library. The licence says something like : 

  In addition, as a special exception, BeWAN systems gives permission
  to link the code of this program with the modem SW library
  (modem_ant_PCI.o, modem_ant_USB.o), and distribute linked combinations
  including the two. You are also given permission to redistribute the
  modem SW library (modem_ant_PCI.o, modem_ant_USB.o) with the rest of the
  You must obey the GNU General Public License in all respects for all of
  the code used other than the modem SW library.

This would solve your issue, i think.

> >>Might the caml breeders please comment on this issue?
> I would really appreciate an official response from the INRIA people. I 
> think Ocaml is a great tool for commercial free software development, 
> but in order to be able to build a thriving business I must make sure 
> that Xavier et al. won't meet me with a team of Dobermans to settle 
> copyright issues...

I will not speak for Xavier et al. here, but i seriously doubt this is going
to happen anytime soon. That said, it is well possible that someone else who
contributed code to the ocaml, albeit indirectly or whatever, may have the
right to sue you or something. Not sure, though, after further reflexion, i
believe that the problem is not going to come from the ocaml side, but from
your customers side, which will receive your code under the GPL, but not have
all the rights associated with the GPL, and encouter the risk of having their
modifications being reusable by the ocaml team under whatever licence they
chose in addition to the QPL.


Sven Luther
> Alex
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