[sword-devel] Information for beginning Windows BCB 6 Developers

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Wed Apr 20 03:30:34 MST 2005

My apologies, I misinterpreted your previous message in the same way 
that Lynn did, since that's the more common angle from which the "GPL 
and Win32 system libraries are not compatible" argument is made.

But my second paragraph ("This is a non-issue.") still stands.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that EULAs actually have some 
legal weight. This MS EULA is basically a piece of FUD propaganda and an 
attept to stifle/discourage FOSS development. It succeeds by presenting 
a number of lies stated as facts and making all of its statements in 
intentionally obfuscated language.

But the whole section can be boiled down to a few senteces.
1) You may not use Microsoft's libraries in software that uses viral 
open source licensing which would require that Microsoft open source its 
2) Examples of such libraries include: GPL/LGPL, Artistic, MPL, NPL, 
SCSL, SISL, & Apache.

Okay, that's a slight over-simplification. If you go to the trouble of 
parsing the whole paragraph, you'll see there are many other inane 
claims and implications made in just that section of the license.

Obviously licensing software like a Sword frontend that links the MFC 
library does not force MS to GPL the MFC library. Anyone who thought 
that would be unbelievably stupid. But creating fear of GPL software, 
suggesting that using it will mean you lose rights to your work, etc. is 
part of MS's method of coping with their own fear of GPL software and 
with the threat that it poses to their business model. They know very 
well that developers' liscensing of their own products cannot impose any 
licensing requirements on MS or MS properties, so it's a fairly blatant 
attack on free software.

The GPL's exemption of system libraries like MFC renders void this whole 
paragraph, at least to developers of GPL software (or any of the other 
licenses listed as "examples").

So, like I said, this is a complete non-issue.


Jeremy Erickson wrote:
> Chris Little wrote:
>>Lynn is entirely correct. GPL specifically allows for system libraries.
>>MFC is a system library, therefore allowed.
> (Not surprisingly, I didn't happen to obtain a law degree within the past 5 
> hours, so I'm still not a lawyer!)
> My understanding from what I have read (even before my earlier post) is that 
> the GPL allows linking with MFC, but that the Microsoft EULA does not allow 
> linking with anything copylefted.  Just as the GPL doesn't allow linking from 
> proprietary programs (it would be invalid to add an exception to a 
> proprietary license saying, "You are allowed to link this with Sword from 
> Crosswire"), the relevant license agreement from Microsoft doesn't allow 
> linking MFC with code under the GPL or any other copyleft license.  The 
> clause to this effect seems only to occur in the EULA with recent releases.  
> Not being a lawyer, I can't tell for sure whether the EULA actually bans 
> this.  The "(or any derivative works thereof)" part from what I sent seems it 
> might, and the intent seems to be to avoid linking with copylefted software 
> (those last restrictions seem to target copyleft quite directly).
> In addition there is a section above what I mentioned before stating,
> "If you are authorized and choose to redistribute Sample Code or 
> Redistributable Code (collectively, the "Redistributables") as described in 
> Section 2, you agree: (i) except as otherwise noted in Section 2.1 (Sample 
> Code) to distribute the Redistributables only in object code form and in 
> conjunction with and as a part of a software application product developed by 
> you that adds significant and primary functionality to the Redistributables 
> ("Licensee Software"); (ii) that the Redistributables only operate in 
> conjunction with Microsoft Windows platforms; (iii) to distribute the 
> Licensee Software containing the Redistributables pursuant to an end user 
> license agreement (which may be "break-the-seal", "click-wrap" or signed), 
> with terms no less protective than those contained in this EULA;"
> Term "i" says that the developed application is included in the term "Licensee 
> Software", and term "iii" says that the Licensee Software must be under a 
> contract-based license agreement (direct contradiction to GPL section 5).  
> Then again, it looks like this might only be the case if the MFC dlls are 
> distributed with the app.
> I would hope this is a non-issue and that I am misunderstanding the license, 
> but knowing Microsoft...
> Relevant threads from other lists/forums on this topic I have seen include:
> http://www.mail-archive.com/license-discuss%40opensource.org/msg07548.html
> (in particular see 
> http://www.mail-archive.com/license-discuss%40opensource.org/msg07550.html 
> and
> http://www.mail-archive.com/license-discuss%40opensource.org/msg07551.html
> )
> http://www.qtforum.org/thread.php?threadid=9100&sid=c2b2d45bc94fcc0cb7ef672e0fb9fbf1&threadview=0&hilight=&hilightuser=0&page=1
> (Most of the EULA talk is actually on page 2 and 3)
> -Jeremy Erickson
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