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LGPL or GPL+"plugins welcome" ?

From: Werner Almesberger
Subject: LGPL or GPL+"plugins welcome" ?
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 11:29:46 -0300

Hi all,

I'm working on a project that contains a piece of software for
which we'd like to allow non-free plugins. There would also be a
GPL or LGPL-licensed plugin that uses the same interface. Now,
we're trying to decide on the appropriate license for that piece
of software. The license should come from the "GNU family", i.e.

 - LGPL would be fine with this kind of linking

 - if using the GPL, we'd have to include a permission for
   non-free plugins, just like the Linux kernel reluctantly permits
   binary-only loadable modules (which provide great food for epic
   flame wars, as I'm well aware of :-)

Now, the question is, if we take the GPL route, what exactly would
we have to do ? I.e.

 - is the GPL "per se" compatible with such plugins ? (E.g. the
   Linux kernel's license explicitly states that using system calls
   is "normal use", and doesn't even mention modules explicitly,
   even though they're not using system calls but other "published"

 - or, would we have to de facto dual-license that code, i.e. under
   the GPL and "everything the GPL lets you do, plus you may also
   write plugins without releasing the code, as long as you're
   using <this set of functions>" ?

I'm not subscribed to this list, so please copy me on any responses.

- Werner

 / Werner Almesberger, Buenos Aires, Argentina /

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