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Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2012 12:45:39 +0300
From: Milen Rangelov <>
Subject: Re: GPL license is not free at all

> There seems to be two main approaches to this. First one is to say that
> a program wrote against an open standard, not a particular library.
> Second one is to invoke a special exception in GPL available for such
> cases:
Whatever you call it, you still link to a proprietary library. Even if it
implements an open standart.

> | However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not
> | include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or
> | binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on)
> | of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that
> | component itself accompanies the executable.
I don't think it falls under the "system library" case as mentioned in GPL

> Switching to a free toolchain would also be a good thing. Isn't LLVM
> support for OpenCL (say, ) already
> sufficient for this?
No, the compiler itself is not enough. Even if we had a complete opensource
compiler (say LLVM opencl frontend/ISA backend) that's just one of the
components. You also need to have the runtime (opencl library) which
communicates with the driver to transfer and execute the compiled kernel,
do buffer management and so on. And even the driver itself is proprietary.
Ironically, in this case, GPL does not make you more free, instead it would
either force you not to use GPGPU software or use proprietary (or some
permissive license) software.


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