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Re: PostgreSQL, LGPL and GPL.

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: PostgreSQL, LGPL and GPL.
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 21:07:37 +0200
User-agent: slrn/ (FreeBSD)

On 2006-10-20, Karen Hill <> wrote:
> If you make create a PostgreSQL database that uses PostGIS and you
> distribute that database, than your database (tables, stored
> procedures, views, etc) are GPL?  

No, because those tables, stored procedures etc. are not
derivative works of the PostGIS code. 

> Like wise if you create a client that
> connects to that database, do they also become GPL?  Does PostgreSQL in
> effect become GPL when using PostGIS because PostGIS accesses parts of
> PostgreSQL?

You have to distinguish the server software from what you store
in the database. Your data does not "become GPL" because it's stored
in a database managed by a GPL-licensed server. 

If you distribute the PostgreSQL server software linked with
the PostGIS software, then you have to comply with the GPL
for both parts of that derivative work.

If you don't distribute any server software, you do not have
to worry about what the GPL requires.

The MySQL people claim that connecting to their database server
means your client has to be made GPL, but they're pretty much
the only ones saying that.

> Npgsql is LGPL.  It means you must release the source of Npgsql when
> distributing it, and if you modify Npgsql, but not have to release the
> source under the (L)GPL of the software that calls Npgsql functions?


> If you provide the source on a CD and the (GPL/LGPL) license as a text
> file on that CD if you distribute, then are your obligations met under
> the GPL/LGPL?


>  What if those you distribute to lose the source code CD,
> can they then come after you X number of years later demanding the
> source?

No. They got the source, they were careless, that's too bad
for them. If and only if you told them "instead of giving you
the source right now, you (and anyone who wants) can write to 
me any time in the next three years and I'll give the source
to whoever writes to me", then people can demand the source.

> For the developers of LGPL/GPL like Npgsql, why do you not dual
> license?  Have a model like MySQL where one can purchase a BSD licensed
> version or use the GPL/LGPL one.

Dual licensing is basically trading on ignorance of what
the GPL requires and how to work with that. It's not a viable
long-term business model. 

And besides, it's much harder to get contributions from third
party if you want to hold that amount of control over the source.


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