[linux-audio-dev] initial release of libfst - in-process VST support

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Wed Apr 21 18:40:15 UTC 2004

>Am I completely misreading the thing?  To me, the spirit of the GPL 
>would seem to support that interpretation, i.e. that your source code 
>offer must include everything that a normal person would otherwise 
>lack in order to build your program.

I believe we can work around this by adding an exception to the
license associated with FST. 

Imagine there is a GPL'ed (or LGPL'ed) library that my app uses but
its not part of the system. I do not have to distribute the source to
that library as part of my application. I can simply point you at the
distribution for the library itself. I can tell you "to compile this
application, you will need libfoo" - this is common practice for all
GPL'ed applications.

In this case, the lack of an actual library notwithstanding (:), what
we actually have is an external (3rd party) library that is not
distributed under the GPL, although it is freely available. I think it
should be OK to release FST with a license that says "you will need
these files from Steinberg". 

The tricky part of this is that "these files" are not GPL'ed, so you
then have the problem of whether its acceptable to use them in a
GPL'ed application. There are two cases I can see: the copyright
holder decides to use them, or a licensee decides to add them to a
program that does not currently use them. The copyright holder can do
whatever they want. The licensee cannot, and so this is where the
special clause is required. But AFAICT, its not required of FST. It
*would* be required in the following hypothetical situation: I take
Rosegarden, and add VST-with-FST support to it. The current GPL
license for Rosegarden *I think* prevents me from doing this, because
I am aggregating your work with a non-GPL'ed work to which I cannot
provide the source. You would have to add a clause to the license of
Rosegarden noting that linkage/aggregation with non-GPL'ed code for
the purpose of running VST plugins blah blah blah.

In practice, this is not likely to be a problem. Most linux audio apps
that are likely to acquire VST support will get it from the work of
their copyright holders, who are free to include whatever they damn
well want :)

Put another way: if I write a program that requires libNotGPLed.so, I
can still choose to release my program under the GPL. I
think. However, you can't take my GPL'ed program and make it require
libNotGPLed yourself unless I allow you to do that.

Thats my view on it for now. 

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