Galeon OSS license issues - need advice
I'm writing this letter representing the Galeon development team
concerning certain licensing issues. Galeon, as you may or may not
know, is a Gecko (Mozilla) based web browser for GNOME. It basically
uses the gtkmozembed (http://www.mozilla.org/unix/gtk-embedding.html)
widget for rendering, with the remaining functionality being Galeon
Galeon is licensed under the GPL, as most other GNOME software is.
A critical part of Galeon, gtkmozembed+Mozilla headers, is licensed
under the MPL. It has been brought to our attention that Galeon is
violating the GPL by linking with code that is not GPL'ed.
Unfortunately, none of us are OSS license experts and do not understand
the details of the problem itself and (more importantly) resolving
this. We want to resolve this issue as soon as possible so everyone
can freely distribute Galeon without worrying about license issues.
On our development mailing list, some helpful suggestions were posted.
One option would be to re-license Galeon under the MPL, which we do not
want to do. Another option is to add a clause to Galeon's GPL license
to allow explicit linking to the MPL'ed code. I personally don't know
if this is okay or not, but the latter option does seem like a feasible
In short, we decided it was best to contact the people making the
distribution decisions, and people otherwise more qualified than us
in this department first before making any changes. The following
is a list of goals, describing the ideal solution, that we have
agreed upon for Galeon:
- Galeon code is open and protected by the GPL
- Galeon is able to be distributed freely by organizations such as
Debian without trouble
- Galeon could be distributed independently of Mozilla (currently the
user is required to install Mozilla header files if they want to
compile Galeon, we can't just include them)
Now, we understand that these goals may be unrealistic, or even
impossible -- but this is what we're aiming for in deciding upon a
new license situation for Galeon.
We would greatly appreciate any advice or ideas in resolving this
Thanks in advance,
- Nate Case <email@example.com>
- Galeon homepage: http://galeon.sourceforge.net