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Re: Licenses for Dummies

On Sun, May 25, 2003 at 10:58:49PM +1000, Rob Weir wrote:

> So, in the end, you have to decide how much control you want.  Some
> possible solutions:
> 1) Leave it under the GPL.  People can call the command line program, but
>    not link to it from non-GPL-compatible software.  GPL-compatible
>    software can link to it just fine.
>    As an option to consider, you can license the software to people who
>    ask under a traditional you-give-me-cash-and-I-let-you-use-my-code,
>    or even let them use it for free, if you so desire.
> 2) License libswish-e under the LGPL, and (optionally, depending on how
>    much you care) leave the frontend under the GPL.  Anyone can use
>    libswish-e in their software as a search engine, but they have to
>    give back the modifications to libswish-e itself to their customers,
>    and presumably the world.

There seems to be much debate about GPL and what defines derived works 
vs. an aggregation.  In other words, if just using a GPL program in their 
package (e.g. use Swish-e to index and search their documentation yet 
their product has nothing to do with searching) if that means their code 
must be GPL.

Since there is that debate, I lean toward GPL, yet be liberal what is 
considered just an "aggregation".

On the other hand, from what you say, it looks like LGPL is what I'm 
interested in.

Still, LGPL bugs me a bit.  For one thing, I don't see the difference
between a library and a binary as far as code use.  Why should linking
and calling a function be any different than calling that function via a
binary?  Seems like there's too much of the mechanics of linking or
shared objects or whatever in LGPL (see section 6) and not enough
plain old intent.

About "giving back" modifications -- that just means they have to
(continue to) provide the source code.  So there's no risk under LGPL
that someone could take the library, and add (closed source) features
that makes buying the proprietary version the only upgrade path

Anyway, thanks for your comments, Rob.  Nice to see your flood of 
responses once in a while! ;)

Bill Moseley

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