GPL and LGPL question

Seth David Schoen schoen at
Tue May 18 22:29:14 UTC 1999

Bruce Perens writes:

> I don't agree. It's just like the public-domain to GPL case. You have the
> option to distribute the program under the LGPL. You choose the GPL. You
> re-distribute that. The person to whom you redistribute it has the option to
> use the GPL, just as you did.

Sure, but the current version of OSD 7 doesn't say that.  It says that
anyone who gets a copy has to have the same legal rights that were
originally granted.

I don't personally think there's any problem left here, except that OSD 7
is unclear.  There are a few possible approaches to fixing it for greater

Anyone who thinks that LGPL 3 is broken is certainly welcome to e-mail
rms at and say so.  I don't think there's any problem in it from
the perspective of the OSD: the LGPL _allows_ redistribution under the
same terms as the software was originally distributed, and developers who
write under the LGPL choose to do so, with the knowledge (hopefully) that
their efforts could possibly be distributed under the GPL.  If they don't
like that, they could write a new library public license that did most of
what the LGPL does but didn't allow the license of the covered code to
be changed.

As I see it, license-discuss is intended for discussions of whether the
Open Source Initiative should approve or disapprove of licenses under the
OSD (and whether it should make improvements and revisions to the OSD).
It's not really for discussions about whether particular licenses are
wise or unwise, although that's not an unimportant discussion.

                    Seth David Schoen <schoen at>
      They said look at the light we're giving you,  /  And the darkness
      that we're saving you from.   -- Dar Williams, "The Great Unknown"  (personal)  (CAF)

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