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Re: [TSVN] To GPL or not to GPL

From: Simon Large <simon_at_skirridsystems.co.uk>
Date: 2005-08-19 18:36:55 CEST

Toby Johnson wrote:
> Simon Large wrote:
>> In fact, if we were to observe the GPL conditions strictly, we could
>> not release TSVN at all because most of the other component licenses
>> are (according to RMS) incompatible with GPL. For example GPL will not
>> allow you to include a component which has an additional requirement
>> which is not in the GPL (such as having to display a notice like
>> "includes software developed by CollabNet").
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#OrigBSD
>
> That says that the license is "incompatible" but that doesn't mean TSVN
> itself can't be released under the GPL. However, it may be necessary to
> include a "special case" in the TSVN license allowing others to link to
> a library with an "incompatible" license. This is explained here:
> <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs>

OK, that provides a means of working around it. But reading a bit
further down in the text it says this:

"Only the copyright holders for the program can legally authorize this
exception. If you wrote the whole program yourself, then assuming your
employer or school does not claim the copyright, you are the copyright
holder--so you can authorize the exception. But if you want to use parts
of other GPL-covered programs by other authors in your code, you cannot
authorize the exception for them. You have to get the approval of the
copyright holders of those programs."

That means that if we continue to use the GPL, then any time we need to
add in something which has an incompatible license, we have to go around
all the contributors to ask them if it is OK. Admittedly at this stage
of the project we are not likely to make significant major additions,
but that is not guaranteed. For example, I don't know if the Microsoft
Eula on GRETA is compatible, and that is a very recent addition to TSVN.

I can see why the GPL does things this way, but it is on a mission which
I personally do not share, and it seems that in order to provide maximum
protection and freedom it makes compliance harder than with many other
licenses.

So in summary, I am still inclined to ask our contributors just once,
and change to Apache2 or similar.

Simon

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Received on Fri Aug 19 18:38:06 2005

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