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Re: License compliance on updating gcc runtime libraries


> I have questions about the GCC Runtime Library Exception.

Note that nobody can give you definitive answers to questions like this
since they haven't been litigated.  So any answer is an "educated guess".
Having said that ...

> When an equipment vendor distributes an update of shared gcc runtime
> libraries (e.g. libgcc_s.so, libstdc++.so) to the shipped equipment
> and when the equipment has applications which are dynamically linked to
> older release of the shared libraries and which are being linked to
> newer ones, in this case, is the exception applied to the newer ones?
>
> I wonder if an update of the shared libraries are regarded as a part of
> the "work of Target Code" or "independent library" in the above case.

My view is that it's both, depending on the context.  Remember that, from
the perspective of copyright law, executing a program is making a "copy"
of that program.  The GPL (or the Runtime Exception) don't include those
copies in their specific restrictions and limitations, but when you
try to define terms, I think you need to reach the fact that these
are copies.

So:

When the new version of the library is distributed, it's an "independent
library" and (assuming it's GPL, not LGPL), the GPL rules apply to it:
the vendor needs to provide the ability to get source under the usual
GPL rules.

But when an application dynamically links with the (new) library, that
application remains a "work of Target Code" and the GPL+Exception rules
apply to any situation where that work is copied.


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