Use of GPL without any intention to enforce

Chris Sloan cds at
Tue Feb 13 01:20:41 UTC 2001

As everyone says, IANAL.

As I understand what you said, you want to make the code availble to
everyone (that's how I took the statement that you weren't interested
in enforcing the GPL).  I would recommend the BSD license (without
advertising clause, of course) because it seems to meet your goals.
Code under the BSD can be used in conjuction with GPL, so you are not
excluding GPL people, but it can also be used with some licenses which
are not GPL compatible.

I would recommend against releasing it under the GPL and then telling
people you will not enforce it.  Many people dislike the uncertainty
of something like that.  Also, some organizations (like Debian, for
example) are complete sticklers for licenses.  If someone wanted to
use your code with a non-GPL'ed program, these sticklers would refuse
to reject or distribute the program, even if you had intended that to
be okay.

In other words, I'd recommend against specifying additional
restrictions in your license if you don't want them to be there.  It
will either confuse people or make them avoid your code.

Note: Any GPL-compatible license should be useable in place if the
BSD.  If you wanted to guarentee something stronger than the BSD, then
that would be one way.  There is also dual-licensing and such if that
makes more sense to you.


Chris Sloan
cds at
Systems Software Engineer
Green Hills Software

On Mon, Feb 12, 2001 at 06:12:31PM -0500, Carter Bullard wrote:
> Gentle people,
> Is there any advantage to releasing software under GPL if you
> have no intention of ever enforcing the license?
> GPL projects seem to require some form of licensing in order
> for connected software to be compatible, which I interpret
> to mean connectable, bundle able, redistributable.  Since most
> projects are collections of packages, many of which are GPL'd,
> it seems that licensing under a GPL like license would be a
> reasonable thing, regardless of your interest in copyleft or
> not, even when you have no intention of ever enforcing a license
> of any kind.
> Would it be reasonable to make the claim that there is no
> intention to enforce a license in the license itself?
> Carter
> Carter Bullard
> QoSient, LLC
> 300 E. 56th Street, Suite 18K
> New York, New York  10022
> carter at
> Phone +1 212 588-9133
> Fax   +1 212 588-9134

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