[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Edlug Archive May 2008 ]

Re: [edlug] Is 3-clause-BSD relicensable to GPL without consent?

Hi Steve,

On Mon, May 12, 2008 at 4:35 PM, Steve Thomas <steve.thomas.private@xxx.xxx.xxx> wrote:

I'm looking at different open-source licenses and attempting to learn
their inter-relationships and real-world ramifications.

I think you should check LGPL and MIT licenses, you can find them at:


[1] informs me that "Code licensed under the BSD licence can be
relicensed under the GPL (is ""GPL-compatible"") without securing the
consent of all original authors." This does not seem to fit with my
(admittedly meagre) understanding of copyright. But I'm not the only
one, it seems.
[2] and [3] seem to arise from the aftermath of Balkan spats last
year. In [2] Theo de Raadt says, inter alia: "There are lessons to be
learned here -- be cautious because there is no such thing this
""relicensing"" meme that your user community spreads." In [3] the
Software Freedom Law Center says: "Once all relevant copyright holders
in the relevant files have been identified, their assent to
relicensing of the work must be secured."

This is true, all this time, I can see lot of code copied from BSD and changed to GPL license, due to BSD allows this. However is not possible change one code with GPL license to BSD.

The idea is protect the source under GPL license to be 'open' always. Code from BSD could be use for privative comercial licenses, and GPL not, but this is good or bad? I think the code should be use like a tool, without restrictions to make a table for example, and this is the idea of BSD, maybe it is used for some commercial purposes but I am thinking that I would like better software quality, commercial or not commercial (i prefer not commercial). But for example if you are working in a company, if your boss tells you develop some software, you will never can link with GPL source due to this license is very restrictive, look at the last sentence of GPL license:

"The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License. But first, please read <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-not-lgpl.html>."

In this case, you can use this lib that you need as a tool, you can't use the hammer, and you will take more time to do your job, sometimes I think this is not useful, for this reason I not agree to protect the code via this license.

When I have all this opensource code, I would like freedom, and freedom means do anything with this, open, close, modify the license, modify the code, link with any kind of libraries using any licenses, etc and you can do that with BSD license, but not with GPL.

In my personal opinion I prefer licenses like LGPL or BSD, are useful for all the cases, for all kind of people without these restrictions...


Borja Tarraso

Any lucid and authoritative links welcome! More generally, I'd also be
interested to hear any warnings or opinions (especially strong ones)
on licensing.



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software_licence#The_Permissive_versus_Copyleft_controversy
[2] http://kerneltrap.org/OpenBSD/Atheros_Driver_Developments
[3] http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/gpl-non-gpl-collaboration.html

My GnuPG key ID is 0x82314996
Preferred keyserver: hkp://subkeys.pgp.net
You can find the EdLUG mailing list FAQ list at:

This archive is kept by wibble+RM@xxx.xxx.xxx