Differences between LGPL and SISSL ?

Danese Cooper Danese.Cooper at Sun.COM
Mon Aug 26 13:42:29 UTC 2002


Sun wrote the SISSL, and uses LGPL as well (in a dual-license
configuration) for OpenOffice.org, so I thought I should take a
stab at explaining the differences.  BTW, IANAL.

SISSL and LGPL are both Free and Open Source licenses, meaning that
they satisfy the requirements of both the Free Software Foundation
and the Open Source Initiative.

The LGPL is essentially identical to the GPL, except that it allows
an exception to the inheritance characteristic of the GPL when derivative
works are created through "dynamic" linking.  In other words, non-GPL
code can be used together with LGPL code as long as it is combined in
a way that leaves the LGPL software independent and functioning with or
without the non-GPL code (for example, run-time linking of a driver or
library through an API abstraction layer).

The SISSL acts essentially like a BSD license, allowing code reuse
as long as that reuse does not deviate from the referenced standard(s)
(in the case of OpenOffice.org, the standards referenced are the
OpenOffice.org APIs and the OpenOffice.org file formats).  If code
reuse deviates from the standards, then the license begins to act more
like the GPL, requiring the author of the derivative work to reveal the
changes to the standards either by revealing code as implemented or
by revealing a specification and generic reference implementation.
The reason for the "either/or" option is to encourage proprietary 
to use SISSL code without fear that they will be forced to reveal their
"secret sauce" code as actually implemented, since a specification and
reference implementation are enough to allow other SISSL community
members to make use of new APIs or formats.

Hope this helps,

On Wednesday, August 21, 2002, at 06:41 PM, Con Hennessy wrote:

> Hi,
> 	Is there any site which does a point by point comparison of
> the various differnet licenses ?
> In particular I am interested in knowing what are the basic differences
> between the LGPL and the Sun Industry Standards Source License (SISSL) ?
> What advantages/disadvantages do I have with on or the other ?
> Thanks
> Con
> --
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