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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: (Re)Licensing question
Date Tue, 10 Jan 2006 20:55:35 GMT
Helma van der Linden wrote:
> 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?

According to both the FSF and the ASF legal counselors, the GPL2.0 is 
not compatible with the AL2.0 because of the patent termination clause 
of the apache license.

More information can be found here:

http://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html

There *IS* a way, however, to license your software as GPL and have it 
link to apache licensed software (or other GPL-incompatible free 
software licenses): you have to 'extend' the GPL by saying explicitly 
that only the part of the software that you own is covered by the GPL 
and not the entire bundle. Each part is covered by its own license and 
the GPL does not apply to that.

As an example of such a thing see

http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/licensing/foss-exception.html

NOTE: there is legal debate to whether or not such an exception would 
stand if tested in court, but this is true for almost anything in the 
legal world anyway, but if you put such a GPL extension in place both 
sides of the open source and free software world would be happy and 
won't come after you.

Others might, though, (see SCO), and the GPL2.0 does *NOT* have any sort 
of IP protection mechanisms in place when that happens but that's a risk 
that you take by just writing software these days.

HTH

-- 
Stefano.


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