SDCC Library License Exception Question

AHelper
2011-11-27
2013-03-12
  • AHelper
    AHelper
    2011-11-27

    Hello,

    I was wondering if the source/header files that make up the sdcc library under device/ can be used for other projects not using sdcc?

    The GPL+LE exception in the sources say: 

    As a special exception, if you link this library with other files,
       some of which are compiled with SDCC, to produce an executable,
       this library does not by itself cause the resulting executable to
       be covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does
       not however invalidate any other reasons why the executable file
       might be covered by the GNU General Public License.

    but that doesn't say anything about using the file to be linked and included in a LGPL Casic Prizm SDK using a gcc-like compiler.  I did note that https://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/sdcc/wiki/Library%20License%20Selection  says that addresses issues with LGPL, but the project doesn't use SDCC at all.

    Hope this can work out,
    - AHelper

     
  • Borut Ražem
    Borut Ražem
    2011-11-27

    Hmm, this is a tricky question:
    - GPL license allows you to use the library in any (also non-SDCC) project, if the project is GPL
    - GPL+LE allows you to use the library with SDCC in any project, including non-GPL and proprietary licensed projects

    I think that the key is understanding of phrase "some of which are compiled with SDCC":
    - in you case none are (or will be) compiled with SDCC. Is "none" par of "some of"? For me this is more philosophical question ;-)
    - the second concern is the word "are": it is not written "has to be" or "shall be". I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if this makes any difference…

    My personal opinion is: yes, you can use them, specially since the compiler is gcc-like, with which we share the same deployment policy. But again, this is my personal opinion!

    CAUTION: pic libraries are not GPL (that is the reason why they are in non-free directory), so the above written is not valid for them! The statement for Microchip is that they can be used only with Microchip devices. But this is also questionable, since the files containing "bare metal" information are not (should't be) copyright-able…

    Borut

     
  • Maarten Brock
    Maarten Brock
    2011-11-27

    Tricky indeed.

    In my understanding of the English language "none" is not part of "some" in this context. But then again I'm no native English speaker nor am I a lawyer.

    However my personal view is that it is allowed to link such a file if its source code is distributed with the resulting object. It does not matter if it was modified or not since the source was not distributed with the used tool set (compiler package).

    Maarten

     
  • Borut Ražem
    Borut Ražem
    2011-11-27

    At http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/some is written:

    "4: being at least one —used to indicate that a logical proposition is asserted only of a subclass or certain members of the class denoted by the term which it modifies"

    So Maarten is probably right: "none" is not included.

    But lawyers might came up with some other interpretation…

    Borut

     
  • AHelper
    AHelper
    2011-11-27

    Yeah, "some" is the part this is holding back.  The library is a nice way to add in select functions, but the wording and requirement for sdcc is the issue here. 

    And no, I am not using any pic-related files.