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Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2012 05:37:41 +0400
From: Alexander Cherepanov <>
Subject: Re: GPL license is not free at all

On 2012-10-03 13:45, Milen Rangelov wrote:
>> 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.

If you only distibute sources then you don't link to anything. And if
write some against an open standard then you don't have anything
specific to any library in your code.

>> | 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
> FAQ.

What do you mean?

>> 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.

Well, you don't get features but you keep your freedom.

And OpenCL seems to be a perfect example of this principle. If you
choose to use OpenCL then you get features (GPGPU) but they are buggy
(ASIC hangs etc.) and you can neither debug it nor fix it because it's
not free and you have neither sources to look at nor license to modify.

Alexander Cherepanov

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