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Re: Shipping a binary version of svnmerge.py under Windows

From: Garrett Rooney <rooneg_at_electricjellyfish.net>
Date: 2006-05-25 18:28:23 CEST

On 5/25/06, Giovanni Bajo <rasky@develer.com> wrote:
> Peter N. Lundblad wrote:
>
> > After some IRC discussion, I agree that we should be careful with
> > distributing
> > GPLed software in our binary distributions. I think it would be
> > better if the svnmerge binary was distributed separately with a link
> > to it somewhere on our site.
>
> OK. Out of curiosity, would you mind clarifying this decision? What is
> exactly the problem with shipping a GPL executable within a SVN binary
> distribution?

Personally, my objection comes from the fact that we've gone to great
lengths to make sure that all of subversion's core functionality and
dependencies are non-virally licensed. The core code is under a
BSDish license, we depend on some ASL2.0 licensed stuff, and the
furthest we stray from that is neon which is LGPL, and there's an
ASL2.0 replacement for that now in serf. The sole exception here is
Berkeley DB, with its own license, but you can build the system
without BDB if you're so inclined and from a user's perspective you
still get the same functionality. This means that it's possible to
take subversion and embed it into a third party program without
running into the GPL problem, which I believe is something that's been
a big part of our success.

If we start shipping svnmerge.py in the installer, it means that a
huge part of our userbase is now getting used to functionality that's
only available under a GPL license, and if the hypothetical third
party wants to make use of that, they're either stuck rewriting it, or
they're going to have to jump through hoops to keep that in a separate
process or something like that.

I think there's a line. For contrib type stuff, it's one thing, but
for something that we're endorsing by shipping with the binary
installer, it's something else.

> It might even be possibile to relicense svnmerge.py.

If svnmerge.py was available under a BSDish license my objection would
absolutely go away.

-garrett

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Received on Thu May 25 18:28:53 2006

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