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Re: Galeon OSS license issues - need advice

On Sat, Jul 29, 2000 at 07:09:52PM -0400, Nate Case wrote:
> Hello, 
> 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
> code.

The most promising web browser Linux has at the moment...

> 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.

your best answer is possibly midway down the GNU project's free software
license list at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html

   The license of Netscape Javascript.
          This is the disjunction of the NPL and the GNU GPL. Because of
          that, it is a free software license, compatible with the GNU
          GPL, but not a strong copyleft.

          This disjunctive license is a good choice if you want to make
          your package GPL-compatible and MPL-compatible. However you can
          also accomplish that by using the LGPL or the Guile license.
          This license might be a good choice if you have been using the
          MPL, and want to change to a GPL-compatible license without
          subtracting any permission you have given for previous

> 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
> solution.  

That same page talks about the QPL's compatibility problems and suggests
how you might get around it.

> 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.

If you don't mind the dual license, this seems pretty doable.

> We would greatly appreciate any advice or ideas in resolving this
> issue.

Good luck, with the license stuff and with the browser..  =)

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org>               GnuPG key 1024D/DCF9DAB3
Debian GNU/Linux (http://www.debian.org/)         20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC
The QuakeForge Project (http://quakeforge.net/)   44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
        -- Robert A. Heinlein

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