[lsb-discuss] Possible license issue with libchk bug fix

Jeff Licquia jeff at licquia.org
Fri Oct 6 11:35:30 PDT 2006

I've been fixing bugs in our runtime tests that come from TSD waivers.
The fixes are available in unofficial bzr branches, with names starting
with "antiwaiver".

For one of these fixes, I needed to incorporate a C++ name demangler
into libchk.  After reviewing my options, I decided to use the demangler
in gcc's libiberty, which is the demangler used by c++filt and the
standard C++ library.

There are three header files and a C source file involved.  The header
files are straight GPL, while the C file contains this exemption:

>    In addition to the permissions in the GNU General Public License, the
>    Free Software Foundation gives you unlimited permission to link the
>    compiled version of this file into combinations with other programs,
>    and to distribute those combinations without any restriction coming
>    from the use of this file.  (The General Public License restrictions
>    do apply in other respects; for example, they cover modification of
>    the file, and distribution when not linked into a combined
>    executable.)

The license for the rest of libchk is the Artistic License; the FSF
takes a rather dim view of that.  From

> We cannot say that this is a free software license because it is too
> vague; some passages are too clever for their own good, and their
> meaning is not clear.

So, according to the FSF (who holds the copyright on all four files),
there may be an issue with integrating the header files into libchk.

Do we have a way to resolve these legal issues, short of asking the FSF?

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