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Cygwin and other open source licenses


I was just browsing Slashdot and came across this interview with Professor Eben Moglen. (see below)
I’m currently doing a project at my university that uses the cygwin.dll for windows compatibility.
My project is licensed under some special open source university license like most universities has.
However after having read the interview it seems to me that I’m violating the license by not using the GPL for my work but some other open source license with my university requires.
Am I right?

- Kasper

--------------- 2) Clarifying the GPL by sterno

One issue that I know has come up for me is how the GPL applies in situations where I'm using GPL software but I'm not actually modifying it. For example, I write a Java application, and it is reliant on a JAR that is GPL'd. Do I then need to GPL my software? I haven't changed the JAR in anyway, I'm just redistributing it with my software. The end user could just as easily download the JAR themselves, it's just a convenience for me to offer it in my package.


The language or programming paradigm in use doesn't determine the rules of compliance, nor does whether the GPL'd code has been modified. The situation is no different than the one where your code depends on static or dynamic linking of a GPL'd library, say GNU readline. Your code, in order to operate, must be combined with the GPL'd code, forming a new combined work, which under GPL section 2(b) must be distributed under the terms of the GPL and only the GPL. If the author of the other code had chosen to release his JAR under the Lesser GPL, your contribution to the combined work could be released under any license of your choosing, but by releasing under GPL he or she chose to invoke the principle of "share and share alike."

the rest of the interview can be found on

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