I am a developer of the ELinks web browser, which was originally licensed under GPLv2-or-later but has been GPLv2-only since ELinks 0.10.0 (released on 2004-12-24). It seems the licence of libgcc in GCC 4.4.0 has been made incompatible with this.
In GCC 4.3.3, libgcc was licensed under GPLv2-or-later with extra permissions. http://gcc.gnu.org/viewcvs/tags/gcc_4_3_3_release/gcc/crtstuff.c?revision=143643&view=markup In the recent GCC 4.4 branch, this has been changed to GPLv3-or-later with the rather complicated GCC Runtime Library Exception version 3.1. The GCC 4.4.0 release was then made under these terms. http://gcc.gnu.org/viewcvs/tags/gcc_4_4_0_release/gcc/crtstuff.c?revision=146514&view=markup http://gcc.gnu.org/viewcvs/tags/gcc_4_4_0_release/COPYING.RUNTIME?revision=146514&view=markup http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gcc-exception.html http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gcc-exception-faq.html When I build ELinks with GCC 4.3.1, several functions from libraries provided by GCC end up in the elinks executable: - __divdi3, __moddi3, and __udivdi3 from libgcc.a - __do_global_dtors_aux from crtbegin.o, and - __do_global_ctors_aux from crtend.o. The last two functions are defined in the aforementioned crtstuff.c. I don't know where the others are defined, or how many inline functions get included from GCC header files. Now suppose we build ELinks with GCC 4.4.0 and the Compilation Process is Eligible as described in the GCC exception. With the GCC exception, the Free Software Foundation then appears to give permission to distribute the resulting binary under terms of our choice. ELinks being licensed under GPLv2 only, those terms would have to be GPLv2. However, it seems to me that subsection 3. a) of GPLv2 requires all the source code corresponding to the binary to be available under GPLv2. If some of the source code comes from libgcc and that is under GPLv3-or-later, then that requirement of GPLv2 becomes difficult to satisfy. The GCC exception only gives permission to propagate output from the compiler; it does not grant any permission on the source code. GPLv2 section 3 has the "major components" exception but it does not apply when "that component itself accompanies the executable", which appears to be the case when e.g. Debian distributes GCC and ELinks together. So, my understanding is that an elinks executable built with GCC 4.4.0 cannot be legally distributed in this way. Furthermore, dynamically linking ELinks with libraries built using GCC 4.4.0 may be problematic too. Is this analysis correct? Is this an intended consequence of the GCC 4.4 licence change? Might the FSF be willing to keep providing libgcc also under GPLv2 (perhaps without any GCC-specific exception)?
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