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Re: Apache module with a GPL License: mod_proxy_html

Emmanuel Lacour wrote:
> I'm the maintainer of mod_proxy_html, an apache 2.x module. Upstream
> source code is GPLv2, so I released it under GPLv2 for the debian
> package. Someone pointed me that GPL is uncompatible with the apache
> license, and so we cannot redistribute it as binary :(
> Could anyone give me hints on what to do in such case (I think the only
> way is to ask the upstream to release the source code under apache
> license).

They don't need to release their work under the Apache license.  They
can continue to ship under the GPL, as long as they grant an exception
for linking to works under the Apache license.  Get upstream to approve
an exception like the following (based on the exception in the GPL FAQ):

Linking mod_proxy_html statically or dynamically with other modules is
making a combined work based on mod_proxy_html. Thus, the terms and
conditions of the GNU General Public License cover the whole combination.

In addition, as a special exception, the copyright holders of
mod_proxy_html give you permission to combine mod_proxy_html with code
under the Apache license (version 1.0, 1.1, or 2.0 of the license). You
may copy and distribute such a system following the terms of the GNU GPL
for mod_proxy_html and the licenses of the other code concerned,
provided that you include the source code of that other code when and as
the GNU GPL requires distribution of source code.

Note that people who make modified versions of mod_proxy_html are not
obligated to grant this special exception for their modified versions;
it is their choice whether to do so. The GNU General Public License
gives permission to release a modified version without this exception;
this exception also makes it possible to release a modified version
which carries forward this exception.

Upstream should put this exception in their license notice(s).  Note
that upstream can only grant such an exception if 1) they hold all the
copyrights for all parts of mod_proxy_html, and 2) they don't link to
any other GPLed works, or the GPLed works they link to grant an
exception as well.

Also, rather than explicitly listing versions of the Apache license they
approve linking to, upstream could replace the parenthetical
qualification with something like "(version 1.0 or newer of the
license)", but they may or may not wish to do so, depending on if they
wish to trust that any future version of the Apache license will
continue to meet with their approval.

If you don't want to wait for a new upstream release, you can ask
upstream to reply to your mail with a full quote of the exception and
state their approval, and then include a full copy of their reply in
your debian/copyright file.

- Josh Triplett

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