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From Aaron Coburn <acob...@amherst.edu>
Subject Re: Licensing question (contribution to VCL project)
Date Tue, 14 Aug 2012 14:41:59 GMT
Hi, Aahit,

Thank you for the information.

> For your understanding please read - "It depends on how the program invokes its plug-ins.
For instance, if the program uses only simple fork and exec to invoke and communicate with
plug-ins, then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license of the plug-in makes no
requirements about the main program.
> If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other
and share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as
an extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. In order to use the GPL-covered plug-ins,
the main program must be released under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license,
and that the terms of the GPL must be followed when the main program is distributed for use
with these plug-ins."

To further quote from the GPL FAQ [1]:

"If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other and
share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as an
extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. This means the plug-ins must be released
under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license, and that the terms of the GPL must
be followed when those plug-ins are distributed."

According to this, the plugin would need to be licensed under either the GPL or "a GPL-compatible
free software license". Because the FSF lists the Apache 2.0 license as being compatible with
version 3 of the GPL [2], then it appears to me that releasing the plugin under the Apache
license would be permitted.

Unless you understand that differently, I will plan to release the Moodle plugin under the
Apache 2.0 license.

Regards,
Aaron

(1) http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html
(2) http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses


> Please find below the figure which explains this in two fold:
> 
> 
> 
> <image.png>
> 
> 
> Let me know if you need any further inputs from me.
> 
> 
> 
> Regards,
> 
> Aahit Gaba
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 7:04 PM, Aaron Coburn <acoburn@amherst.edu> wrote:
> Thanks, Aahit,
> This confirms what I have read, namely that any Moodle plugin must be licensed under
the GPL.
> 
> IANAL, but it is pretty clear that the plugin depends entirely on the Moodle infrastructure,
runs inside of the Moodle system and uses the Moodle address space -- it is, in effect, "linked"
to Moodle and thus generally understood to be a "derivative work".
> 
> As I understand it, this does not affect the licensing of the VCL, since the Moodle plugin
and the VCL system only transfer data.
> 
> The secondary question is whether the VCL project can properly distribute GPL code. Clearly,
this cannot be part of any VCL release. But can the VCL project distribute the plugin from
its website, or should I make this available from some independent location?
> 
> Thanks,
> Aaron
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Aug 13, 2012, at 3:13 AM, Aahit wrote:
> 
> > Hi,
> >
> > Plugin can be licensed under Apache 2.0 if it is communicating through
> > systems calls to Moodle. As per GPL, linking can create a derivative; hence
> > there is an incompatibility issue arises with apache.
> >
> >
> > If plugin is communicating through custom calls to XMLRPC API, that is a
> > derivative work according to GPL 3.0 license.
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Aahit
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 11, 2012 at 12:17 AM, Josh Thompson <josh_thompson@ncsu.edu>wrote:
> >
> >> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> >> Hash: SHA1
> >>
> >> Aaron,
> >>
> >> I'm think you can license your plugin for Moodle under whatever license you
> >> want, as long as it wasn't an extension of existing Moodle code.
> >>
> >> I've cc'd the legal list to verify this is correct.
> >>
> >> Legal list - a little more background:  VCL is a cloud provisioning system.
> >> It has an XMLRPC API that allows other systems to interact with it.  Aaron
> >> Coburn has written a plugin for Moodle that allows a user to make a
> >> reservation in VCL via a Moodle site.  He would like to contribute this
> >> plugin
> >> to the VCL project.
> >>
> >> Thanks,
> >> Josh
> >>
> >> On Friday, August 10, 2012 6:35:04 PM Aaron Coburn wrote:
> >>> I have cleaned up the VCL block I wrote for Moodle and tested it with
> >>> version 2.3. I would like to release it, but one of you might be able to
> >>> give some insight into the licensing details.
> >>>
> >>> Moodle is licensed under the GPL v3 and the VCL is licensed under the
> >> Apache
> >>> license v2. Are there any incompatibilities there? Is there any reason
> >> that
> >>> the moodle plugin needs to be licensed under the GPL or can it be
> >> released
> >>> under the Apache license? I would like to make the license as compatible
> >> as
> >>> possible with the VCL so that the project would be able to distribute
> >> this
> >>> code as well (since there seems to be interest).
> >>>
> >>> Thanks in advance!
> >>>
> >>> Aaron
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Aaron Coburn
> >>> Systems Administrator and Programmer
> >>> Academic Technology Services, Amherst College
> >>> acoburn@amherst.edu<mailto:acoburn@amherst.edu>
> >> - --
> >> - -------------------------------
> >> Josh Thompson
> >> VCL Developer
> >> North Carolina State University
> >>
> >> my GPG/PGP key can be found at pgp.mit.edu
> >>
> >> All electronic mail messages in connection with State business which
> >> are sent to or received by this account are subject to the NC Public
> >> Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.
> >> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
> >> Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (GNU/Linux)
> >>
> >> iEYEARECAAYFAlAlV00ACgkQV/LQcNdtPQPoawCfWTvRFkONXjmnDXo5YrPPutSd
> >> pWwAmwYBhXFPTFE++E3GAK5sHXAXjmux
> >> =M+Vl
> >> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> 
> 


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