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From Jeff Turner <>
Subject Re: Why not LGPL? (Was: Re: ChartTransformer 0.0.4 urge a commiter!)
Date Sun, 26 Jan 2003 23:33:34 GMT
On Sun, Jan 26, 2003 at 07:58:28PM +0000, Pier Fumagalli wrote:
> Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:
> >Steven Noels wrote:
> >>Nicola Ken Barozzi wrote:
> >>
> >>>I'm not going to put another jar in our dependencies that is LGPL also.
> >>
> >>You are not _allowed_ to do so.
> >
> >Actually, we can. It depends on whom you ask ;-)
> Both wrong? :-) :-)
> Ok, let me try to explain the rationale behind GPL/LGPL for inclusion in 
>  the ASF codebases.
> I believe that everyone will know why GPL is "no-no" for us: it's a 
> "viral" license, every modification to some GPL code, and everything 
> linked against some GPL code _needs_ to be re-released as GPL.
> Now, the folks at GNU one day, seeing the drawbacks imposed by this 
> licensing scheme (not many wanted to release software using a GPL 
> licensed library) decided to come out with a "Lesser" GPL (LGPL).
> LPGL has one small caveat in it: you can LINK against that library and 
> not be forced to re-release your code as GPL (however, if you modify the 
> library itself, your modifications will have to be licensed under LGPL 
> again, it is still "viral" on that part).
> Legally there is nothing preventing us (Apache) to base some of our work 
> on a LGPL licensed library, then, for real, you can link against, put it 
> in CVS, do whatever you want.

Well that's interesting.

> But there is one tricky little detail:
> If (for example) we, the ASF, decided to get the library and make some 
> modifications to it, or, scarier though, we _had_ to "fork" the library 
> for our own needs (imagine, the orignal author changes from LGPL to 
> something else, full GPL for example -as happened lately to the MySQL 
> JDBC drivers- or even worse, decides the library will only be 
> distributed as "commercial software"), then we would be utterly f***ed.
> Ethically the ASF does not develops software under a "viral" license, 
> therefore, given the "partial virality" of LGPL, we wouldn't be able to 
> "fork" and maintain such a library.

Not at Apache, but is there anything stopping a few developers forking
the last LGPL'ed version on Sourceforge?

If so, then using LGPL code could be an acceptable risk.  The
alternatives (rewrite, or convince the world to adopt BSD/ASL) aren't fun
at all..


> We wouldn't even be able to change the license, all modifications would
> have to be LGPL, so, we either would have to rewrite the whole thing,
> or get rid of the offending bits and bobs...
> Soooo, I'd say, if you see the word GPL  somewhere (with or without the 
> leading L) my answer is usually no, because now or in the future it 
> could/will create problems...
> My 2c...
> 	Pier

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