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Re: wxgtk: Is this free software?

I guess that as the maintainer of the wxWindows packages, I ought to comment.

I just love coincidences.  About the same time this crops up on -devel, it
also pops up on the wxwin-devel list...  They have responded by issuing a new
version of their license, attached below.  This new license, I believe is less
confusing and will allow wxgtk to go into main.

I will upload a new package to master later this week if consensus is in favor
of using the new license.

Brian Bassett

                wxWindows Library Licence, Version 3

  Copyright (C) 1998 Julian Smart, Robert Roebling [, ...]

  Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
  of this licence document, but changing it is not allowed.

                       WXWINDOWS LIBRARY LICENCE

  This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
  under the terms of the GNU Library General Public Licence as published by
  the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the Licence, or (at
  your option) any later version.

  This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
  WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
  General Public Licence for more details.

  You should have received a copy of the GNU Library General Public Licence
  along with this software, usually in a file named COPYING.LIB.  If not,
  write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330,
  Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA.


  1. As a special exception, the copyright holders of this library give
  permission for additional uses of the text contained in this release of
  the library as licenced under the wxWindows Library Licence, applying
  either version 3 of the Licence, or (at your option) any later version of
  the Licence as published by the copyright holders of version 3 of the
  Licence document.

  2. The exception is that you may use, copy, link, modify and distribute
  under the user's own terms, binary object code versions of works based
  on the Library.

  3. If you copy code from files distributed under the terms of the GNU
  General Public Licence or the GNU Library General Public Licence into a
  copy of this library, as this licence permits, the exception does not
  apply to the code that you add in this way.  To avoid misleading anyone as
  to the status of such modified files, you must delete this exception
  notice from such code and/or adjust the licensing conditions notice

  4. If you write modifications of your own for this library, it is your
  choice whether to permit this exception to apply to your modifications.
  If you do not wish that, you must delete the exception notice from such
  code and/or adjust the licensing conditions notice accordingly.


Richard Braakman wrote:

> wxgtk has been uploaded to master, but I'm not sure if it is free
> software.  Its license is a strange derivative of the GPL, and it
> seems to contradict itself in a number of places.
> I've included the full license as an attachment.
> First, in the preamble, it says this:
>   Unlike the L-GPL licence, you as a user are not obliged to
>   distribute wxWindows source code with your products. However,
>   you are prevented from selling the code without permission from
>   the authors, or denying others the rights to use or distribute
>   wxWindows in the way intended.
> "you are prevented from selling the code without permission from the
> authors" would make it non-free, but the license doesn't actually do
> this.  In section 2 it says, about verbatim copies:
>   You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a
>   copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in
>   exchange for a fee.
> This is the same text that the GPL uses in its section 2.
> But in section 3 (modified copies), it seems to forbid charging for
> support:
>   [...] With agreement from the authors of wxWindows, you may charge for
>   value added to the Library, for example, a commercially supported
>   version, or a port to a new platform. It is expected that
>   collaboration between such commercial interests and the free wxWindows
>   community will yield benefits to both parties, since wxWindows
>   represents a substantial investment of time and effort. It is not in
>   the spirit of this agreement that commercial exploitation of wxWindows
>   should in any way detract from the free version.
> Yet in section 1 it had already said:
>   Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are
>   not covered by this Licence; they are outside its scope.
> Charging for support seems, clearly, to lie outside this scope.
> *sigh* Why couldn't they just use the LGPL?  All they have added
> is confusion.
> Richard Braakman
>   ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                        Name: wxgtk-license
>    wxgtk-license       Type: Plain Text (text/plain)
>                    Encoding: 7bit
>                 Description: /tmp/1

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