[Approval Request] BSD-Lite license

Paul Guyot pguyot at kallisys.net
Mon Nov 26 23:50:10 UTC 2001

[Is it really useful to cross-post to license-approval?]

À (At) 14:54 -0800 26/11/01, David Johnson écrivait (wrote) :
>I wasn't aware that there was a problem with BSD-GPL compatibility. There are
>many GPLd projects with some source files under the BSD license (KDE, Linux,
>etc.) with narry a complaint from anyone who ever spent time reading the
>licences in question.

I'm also a developer and I worked on several GPL or BSD-licensed 
projects (among others) and I noticed that fellow developers really 
don't care about licensing issues. I think they're wrong, but it's a 

>A BSD licensed source file (or library, module, etc) in a GPL project cannot
>have its list of conditions removed. However this list of conditions does not
>apply to the whole project, only to the specific parts that are under the BSD
>license. According to the GPL, the work "as a whole" must be licensed under
>the GPL, not necessarily all of its parts. Since the BSD license does not
>restrict the user from exercising any of the rights or permissions granted by
>the GPL license attached to the "whole", there is no incompatibility.

Thanks for this argument, David.

Please note, on the contrary to what I understand in your statement, 
that I think that the GPL explicitly says that if you distribute 
things altogether, the whole thing and parts are released under the 

>These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If 
>identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, 
>and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in 
>themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those 
>sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you 
>distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work 
>based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the 
>terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend 
>to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of 
>who wrote it.

Anyway, let's say that your right here (and I think there are valid 
arguments for this). There is nevertheless BSD clause #2. It says 
that if you release in binary form, you should also include the BSD 
license in the documentation.

If you can distribute the source code as a whole or if you must 
distribute the thing in parts depends on the correctness of your 
interpretation. In any case, you can't distribute binaries. You can 
also distribute some program in source form based on GPL code and 
closed-source code.

Thanks for your objection. I maintain (at least because of clause #2) 
that BSD and GPL are incompatible, but I've updated my web page 

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