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From Pier Fumagalli <>
Subject Re: (Re)Licensing question
Date Tue, 10 Jan 2006 17:55:08 GMT
On 10 Jan 2006, at 17:22, Andrew Stevens wrote:

>> From: Helma van der Linden <>
>> Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 17:31:25 +0100
>> Guys,
>> I usually keep away from licensing issues, but this time I'd like  
>> to know if it is done correctly. I'm looking at a project that is  
>> made up of several other open source projects, cocoon is one of  
>> them, another (sub)project is licensed under BSD.
>> This project is licensed under GPL. It doesn't say that only their  
>> part is GPL and others are licensed differently. Looks like they  
>> included the entire Cocoon source tree with licensing files for  
>> all external jars used and they also left in the ASF license  
>> headers in the various files.
>> Is this correct?
> Given that GNU [1] list the Apache licenses as "GPL-Incompatible,  
> Free Software Licenses", I've always interpreted that to mean that  
> you can't link to (i.e. make use of) Apache-licensed libraries  
> (jars) in a project that you're releasing under the GPL.  They  
> don't appear to have an equivalent list for LGPL compatibility,  
> unfortunately.
> I do recall that previous discussions on this list have stated that  
> Apache-hosted projects aren't allowed to [L]GPL libraries in their  
> CVS repositories.
> If I've got this all backwards, someone please let me know; I've a  
> project of my own [2] that I would have licensed under GPL if not  
> for the fact that I made use of libraries that were released under  
> Apache and BSD licenses.  Instead I went for LGPL on the grounds  
> that I can find a lot of other LGPL'd projects that use the same  
> libraries, so it looks like that's okay...

I personally think you've got it upside down... You can write a piece  
of software distributed with a (L)GPL license and using ASL licensed  

The main problem for us (the ASF) is to "incorporate" software based  
on GPL/LGPL licenses (not the other way around).

Basically, as we (ASF) don't impose any restriction on our software  
(it's a kind of do-whatever-you-want-with-it), if we were to include  
(L)GPL software we would force you (end user of Cocoon) to  
redistribute your project under a (L)GPL license: the ASF doesn't  
permit it, so that's why you won't find any reliance or use of (L)GPL  
software in ASL licensed projects.

The other way around, is, on the other hand (and in my very personal  
non-lawyer idea), totally possible (Mr. Stallman still says it's not,  
but I don't believe he's right on this one).

As your software is going to be (L)GPLed, yours is the choice of how  
to re-license the changes you make to OUR (cocoon's) classes: if you  
choose to distribute the changes you make to the Cocoon classes under  
the (L)GPL, then we (as the ASF) won't be able to redistribute them  
and you'll have to maintain your changes yourself. If you re-license  
your chages under the Apache Software License and we (as the ASF) are  
able to include them, we'll integrate them and ship them in our next  
release (hopefully).

I know that in the past there were some issues dealing with the  
advertising clause in the Apache license 1.1 that Mr. Stallman didn't  
particularly like (and claimed were uncompatible), and now he's  
claiming that the version 2.0 of the Apache license is incompatible  
because of some patenting issue: those are subjective issues that  
were never tried in a court of law.

Personally, not being a lawyer, I think the GNU approach (Mr.  
Stallman's) is over-zealous onto those issues, but, at the end-of-the- 
day, it's your gut-feeling that will have to tell you whether you can  
combine the two licenses or not. As far as my personal instinct goes,  
I wouldn't release anything under the (L)GPL, go straight to the ASL  
(or even better, BSD) and not care about it...

Try to Google up "ASL LGPL GPL": you'll find links to a number of  
blogs on this subject, especially by those who are on the licensing  
committee in the ASF (they might explain you in more "legal" terms  
what my gut feeling is all about!!!) :-P :-P

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