[ProgSoc] GPL and license compatibility

Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale wzdd at progsoc.org
Wed Aug 24 19:49:54 EST 2011


I don't want to participate in any more discussion with somebody who abuses people on a programming list in public.

On 24/08/2011, at 12:17 AM, John Elliot wrote:

> On 16/08/2011 7:37 AM, Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale wrote:
>> 
>> On 15/08/2011, at 1:14 PM, John Elliot wrote:
>> 
>>> I've noticed that some projects will dual license their content under the GPL *and* some other more liberal license such as the MIT or *BSD licenses.
>>> 
>>> Is this necessary?
>> 
>> Depends what for...
> 
> I'm still not clear on when this becomes necessary. If the BSD and MIT licenses are compatible with the GPL, why license under the GPL too? I don't understand...
> 
>>> If I'm working on a GPL licensed project and I want to use a library that is licensed under a MIT or *BSD license, can I do that? Or do the libraries that I'm referencing need to be also licensed under the GPL (or LGPL) too?
>> 
>> No, in this case you can just include MIT or BSD licensed libraries, as they are generally considered to be "compatible with the GPL".
>> 
>> Here is the FSF on what that means: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhatDoesCompatMean
> 
> Thanks, I found these too, which were helpful:
> 
> * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html
> * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FSF_approved_software_licenses
> 
>> The MIT and BSD licenses aren't strict subsets of the GPL, which is why some projects choose dual licensing.
> 
> I don't understand why that is important, given that they are compatible.
> 
>> Here is Theo de Raadt on it: http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20070901041657
> 
> Man, that guy strikes me as a tedious prat. It would seem pretty clear to me that if a project is "dual licensed" that the copyright holders are allowing you to have the project under one license *or* the other. Creating new documentation in your fork that explains which license you have elected to apply isn't "modifying" their "legal documents" in any way that you haven't been implicitly authorised to do so. Coming up with an interpretation that suggests otherwise is lame, pedantic and bordering on pathetic I reckon. Trying to put the fear of "the law" in people with a contrived interpretation... bah!
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