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[Bug-gnulib] Re: licenses again

From: Simon Josefsson
Subject: [Bug-gnulib] Re: licenses again
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004 00:01:17 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110003 (No Gnus v0.3) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Paul Eggert <address@hidden> writes:

> Simon Josefsson <address@hidden> writes:
>> Bruno Haible <address@hidden> writes:
>>> In the end, any sizable contribution to gnulib has to be assigned
>>> to the FSF....
>> But then FSF would have to agree to license the work under LGPL,
>> right?  It seems this might be the problem.  Or maybe FSF do agree to
>> do this implicitly, because gnulib-tool will essentially relicense the
>> packages that may be licensed under LGPL.
> There shouldn't be any implicit LPGLing of code.  The FSF needs to
> decide explicitly which source files are LGPLed.  The default, if no
> explicit decision is made, is GPL-only.
> As a corollary, gnulib-tool shouldn't make it easy to mistakenly
> distribute GPL-only files under the LGPL.
> Sorry about the hassle, but there are fundamental underlying reasons
> for the hassle.


Even with a --license=lgpl parameter to gnulib-tool I am concerned
that this scenario will happen: someone contribute a fix to a file,
say minmax.h, derived from gnulib in, say, Texinfo.  That file says
GPL.  It might not be proper use of the term, but I view that what
gnulib-tool --license=lgpl will do in this situation is an implicit
relicensing.  It takes the GPL'd contribution and make it available as
LGPL, based on "License: LGPL" in modules/minmax.  That might be
rather surprising to the contributor, and he might get upset about it,
and potentially even revoke his contribution.

I understand that when FSF get the copyright on the patch, which
should be required before it is applied to gnulib, it can relicense
the work in whatever way it wants.  But the power of FSF is based on
that it behave in the best interest of everyone.  So doing _something_
to avoid that the bad situation above will arise seem warranted.

I'm not sure exactly what should be done, though.  Changing the
license template on the files from GPL to LGPL was one idea, but not
possible.  Another solution I have in mind is to add a comment like
the below would.  It should be added to the end of the license
template, of those files that are also available under LGPL:

/* If you submit a proposed modification to this file, keep in mind
   that this file, and consequently your modification, will also be
   available under the Lesser GPL. */


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