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I'd like to use the VLC's DLL in one of my programs. VLC is under the GPL license. Do I have to redistribute all the sources under GPL or can I redistribute only the modified sources of VLC under these terms while redistributing the rest of my program in the license I want?

Thank you, Sébastien

Edit: And what if I only use the DLL of VLC in case they are installed on the user's computer ?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 7 '11 at 20:18

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The problem here is that you're hitting one of the unclear areas in the license. This is very definitely not a case where random strangers on the Internet can be helpful. –  David Thornley Jun 6 '11 at 21:52
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@David Thornley: Which area of the license is unclear about that? –  hakre Jun 6 '11 at 22:00
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The unclear area is whether dynamic linking creates a derived work. The Free Software Foundation says yes, several lawyers say no, and I haven't heard of a court case deciding. Consult a lawyer. Trust no other advice here. –  David Thornley Jun 7 '11 at 2:29
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@quickly_now: A DLL under the LGPL requires that the source for the DLL be released, nothing more. It is best to be wary about incorporating GPLed code into a proprietary software system. –  David Thornley Jun 8 '11 at 13:45
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As far as the edit goes: nobody knows. Seriously. Not only don't we know the laws where you live and work, to my knowledge it's never been tested in court. It probably makes no difference whether the DLL is shipped with the program or independently, but IANAL and TINLA. Consult a lawyer knowledgeable in these things in your jurisdiction, and be prepared to hear "We don't know". Alternatively, write to the DLL author and ask for clarification. –  David Thornley Jun 8 '11 at 13:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, the full GPL (which VLC is licensed under) requires that all code incorporating GPL-licensed libraries also be licensed under the GPL -- merely distributing the source to the GPL-licensed library is not sufficient.

The LGPL license does not have this requirement, but that's not what VLC is licensed under.

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I sense the same, but actually there is no need to re-distribute all sources but only to offer the sources in a written statement, at least for VLC under GPL v2. –  hakre Jun 6 '11 at 22:02

libvlc has recently been re-licensed under the LGPL. It may now be used with closed source applications.

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