Re: Patches/Diffs (fwd)

From: Patrick Dughi (
Date: 10/11/01

well, better late than never.

        This is in regard to a discussion from a while ago, that I can't
even remember....  May have some info for those of you who'd like to
create patches, etc, and need to link in GPL'ed software.

        In brief, 'no you can't *hits you with a stick*'.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 11 Oct 2001 15:05:16 -0000
From: Free Software Foundation <>
To: Patrick Dughi <>
Cc: Free Software Foundation <>
Subject: Re: Patches/Diffs

Patrick Dughi <> wrote:
>       I've spent alot of free time on a project which is under a
> GPL-conflicting license, yet the source code is still free, and freely
> distributable.  This has led to a decent amount of community, and there is
> a moderate collection of patches, enchancements and modifications
> available (all in source code form).
>       The problem is that I would like to use the mySQL database for an
> enchancement I wish to make, and later release that enchancment. (mySQL is
> GPL'ed software)
>       Obviously, I cannot simply release the whole thing, but I was
> curious to what extent I must segregate the two systems; is it permissible
> to create a patch (using the diff program) and distribute the patch (as a
> GPL'ed piece of code in total)?  Patches, as I'm sure you are aware,
> contain small sections of code from the original program for use as
> reference, and I do not have the right to modify the license for the
> original program.
>       Is there some other way?  Perhaps releasing a non-GPL'ed patch
> which would make calls to a wrapper class/set of functions which would be
> defined in a released GPL package including the mySQL database API/etc?

There is no way to link GPL software with GPL-incompatible software. Patches
are still derivative works, as are linked libraries.

If you are the sole copyright holder of the incompatible package, you could
relicense it to be compatible.  If you aren't the sole copyright holder, you
could try to convince the other copyright holders to relicense.  Otherwise,
you could try to get a special exception to the GPL from MySQL, but they will
probably refuse.

-David "Novalis" Turner,
Licensing Question Volunteer,
Free Software Foundation

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