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Re: What license should I use when including code from subversion?

From: <kfogel_at_collab.net>
Date: 2004-02-25 16:58:16 CET

Peter Lamberg <subv@lodju.dyndns.org> writes:
> I assume svn_load_dirs.pl is under the Subversion license.
> My tool is currently marked GPL. However it seems that the compatibility
> (in the GPL sense) between GPL and Subversion license is uncertain.
> Reading previous archived has made me even more confused.
> I don't wan't to erode mine or anybody else's rights or cause
> licensing worries to stop anybody from using the tool.
> I'm generally for copylefting things, but haven't made up my
> mind about this "advertising clause" thing. There are arguments for
> both sides.
> What would be the safest option?
> A) Forget about copying code (I hate this option)
> B) Change the license to Subversion licese, (but retain my copyright on
> the code I wrote. Can I do this?)

Yes, I believe you can do (B) if you want. The copyright holder has a
lot of leeway. Please note that I am not lawyer, though.

> C) Just include the code, mention it nicely and as required by
> Subversion licese and hope for the best.

If it were me, I would choose (C). Here's why:

Of the two licenses, the GPL is "stricter". (It's not always the case
that licences can be ordered according to strictness, but in this case
they mostly can.) Therefore, if there's going to be an
incompatibility, the copyright holder for the GPL'd code would have
the reason to complain. However, *you* are the copyright holder!
Therefore, if you do not have a problem, who else would have legal
standing to complain? No one :-). Just make sure you continue to be
the copyright holder.

Now, the minor complication is that the Subversion license does ask
you to put the words

   "This product includes software developed by CollabNet

somewhere. So fine, just do that. The GPL doesn't forbid this, so
you can satisfy all of the requirements of the Subversion license
easily, and you can satisfy the GPL to the copyright holder's (i.e.,
your) satisfaction.

Note that if your software includes contributions from others, and you
are not the copyright holder for that code, then you may have to talk
to them about all this first.

> PS. congrats for the 1.0 release. Great work!


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Received on Wed Feb 25 18:01:50 2004

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