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Re: LGPL vs. GPL

From: Ciaran O'Riordan
Subject: Re: LGPL vs. GPL
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2008 14:30:09 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

Encouraging contributions isn't usually a motivation to switch to LGPL.  The
writers of proprietary software will generally keep the most useful
functionality in their application code (rather than in your library) and
will contribute as little as possible.

A permissive licence (such as the LGPL) can be good if you want your
application to define an open standard.  For example, the Ogg Vorbis library
for playing that audio format is under a very permissive licence because the
goal is to make Ogg a widely used standard (so that free software developers
can work with an open, patent-free standard instead of the possibly patented
mp3 format).

The LGPL can also be good if you think that your field will naturally be
dominated by a single software package and you think you might loose a
head-to-head competition with some proprietary rival.  This is the case for
the GNU standard C library (glibc).  It makes technical sense for all
GNU/Linux operating systems to use the same libc, and if the developers of
proprietary software for GNU/Linux wanted to write their own libc, they
probably could.  So to ensure that they don't feel a need to do that, glibc
was released under the LGPL.

So unless you find yourself in either of those rare situations, then it's
probably best to stay with the GPL.

You've probably read this, but just in case:

Hope that helps.

P.S. This mailing list has lots of trolls.  Please ignore inflammatory
CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan, +32 477 36 44 19,

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