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Re: inquery about "GPL with commercial exception"


thanks for the quick reply.

On 09/29/2015 06:58 PM, Jeff Epler wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 05:14:11PM +0200, IOhannes m zmölnig (Debian/GNU) wrote:
>> i'm currently thinking about packaging "linuxsampler", which has a
>> somewhat abominable license, which they call "GPL with commercial
>> exception" [1].
>> [1] https://www.linuxsampler.org/downloads.html#exception
> For discussion, the text in question from the linuxsampler website reads:
>  [*] LinuxSampler is licensed under the GNU GPL with the exception that
>  USAGE of the source code, libraries and applications FOR COMMERCIAL
>  permission by the LinuxSampler authors. If you have questions on the
>  subject, that are not yet covered by the FAQ, please contact us. 
> I think this is more a *prohibition* (something permitted by the GPL,
> use for any purposes, is prohibited) than an *exception*.
> The page also says that a mandatory dependency of LinuxSampler, libgig,
> is licensed under GPL without prohibition.
> In my opinion:
>  - GPL with additional use prohibition is not DFSG-compatible
>  - GPL with additional use prohibition is not GPL-compatible
> As a consequence of the second item, I believe LinuxSampler is not
> distributable at all, since it works only by linking GPL-compatible and
> GPL-incompatible code together into a single work, so I don't believe
> that LinuxSampler can be distributed even in the non-free archive.

hmm, the upstream authors doubt that, arguing that they as the authors
of libgig are allowed to do so.
but i guess there argument only holds, as long as *they* distribute the
combined binaries (and not a 3rd party like Debian).

anyhow, if the use of libgig is the only problem, then i think it can be
solved rather easily (e.g. the upstream authors adding an explicit
exception to the license of libgig, that allows its use in linuxsampler)

(btw, i also think that your wording is a bit unfortunate: there is
nothing in the world that a priori prohibits linking *GPL-compatible*
and *GPL-incompatible* code; LGPL and BSD-3-clause are all *compatible*
and allow linking with proprietary code)


PS: thanks for keeping me (and pkg-multimedia) in the loop, as I'm not
subscibed to debian-legal.

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