I'd like to get more views from you guys on the license that curl is
distributed under: the MozPL, the MPL, the Mozilla Public License.
The big problem with using MPL is that GPL is not compatible with it and
people all over the world use GPL more or less without giving it a second
thought. In many cases free software or open source is equivalent to GPL.
This incompatibility makes all programs released as GPL unable to use libcurl
and distribute them together. (They can still be distributed separately.)
MPL, or MozPL, that curl is licensed under was carefully selected years ago
to match the concepts and philosophies I believe in. I do believe in allowing
curl to be used in closed-source projects, which GPL denies. I like the fact
that MPL says that the source for the curl parts must remain open even when
you decide to use it with other parts in a secret project. It forces curl to
remain open while it can be used in a context of your choice.
LGPL was never an issue for me to pick back in those days, as curl was not a
library then and the license was 'Library GPL' back then and the wording in
the license just made it impossible to apply to non-libraries. LGPL has been
renamed to 'Lesser GPL' since and is supposedly a "GPL light" that allows the
licensed software to be linked with closed source programs. LGPL however, can
be converted to GPL at will by anyone at any time, according to the LGPL
license. This is of course made this way to make GPL and LGPL compatible and
allow GPL source code to be used in LGPL projects.
I want to be able to use curl in my everyday work even when doing closed-
source stuff. If anyone would one day turn the LGPL'ed program into GPL and
add a lot of cool features, I couldn't do that anymore. Or I'd have to
re-implement the features in my still-LGPL'ed piece...
The BSD license is compatible with GPL and basically allows anyone to do
anything with the source code, including changing it and never publish the
changes. BSD licsensed programs are also free to be used in whatever software
There are about as many other licenses as there are brains involved in open
To convert the software license, I would need the consent of *each and every*
contributor. Or rewrite the parts I got from those not available.
MPL allows me (as the initial author) to dual-license the project. To release
it as *both* MPL and something-else. This might be an attractive solution,
although this is something that I'd need to watch more carefully first (like
how the Mozilla project is doing). To dual-license anything with GPL still
allows anyone to release it as pure GPL at will, which will then allow things
like the LGPL scenario I described above.
Now, more and more authors ask me questions about the current license and
they ask me how to get me to convert curl to a more *GPL friendly license.
Even though the problems always turn out to be imposed by the *GPL licenses
(and not the MPL license) we usually end up with a few differently licensed
software parts that want to live happily together.
This is a problem.
I don't have any easy solutions to this. This is a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo
and it feels very unconstructive to discuss this and spend devlopment time
and thinking about these issues, but I figure I must and I need your help.
What is *your* view on the (lib)curl license issue?
I need your input, your views and opinions.
Daniel Stenberg - http://daniel.haxx.se - +46-705-44 31 77
ech`echo xiun|tr nu oc|sed 'sx\([sx]\)\([xoi]\)xo un\2\1 is xg'`ol
Received on 2000-08-30