Question about GPL with exception

Bill Moran wmoran at
Tue Feb 25 14:29:44 UTC 2003

arnaud.quette at wrote:
> Hello,
> We (MGE UPS SYSTEMS) would like to release some code under GPL with
> exception (file header at the end of this mail), and we need to have
> confirmation
> about some points to do things cleanly and surely:
> 1) As the GPL is an OSI-approved license, is the GPL with MGE exception, that
> we proposed hereafter, an OSI approved license too ? Or do we have to get an
> OSI approval for it ?
> 2) Is the below header sufficient for inclusion in the distributed files, or do
> we
> need to attach a full GPL license file with those ?
> 3) We want to be sure that we can continue using the code given under GPL
> in our existing and future proprietary developments without making those GPL.
> Is the exception mentionned, in the attached header, sufficient to guarantee
> this ?

I'm no lawyer, but ...
If you own the copyright, you have the right to license the software in any
way that you see fit.  This also means that you can use different licenses to
different consumers. By considering yourself a consumer, you can simply grant
yourself a "closed-source" license for using within your own products.  Thus,
there's really no need for the exception you put below.
There are precedents for this.  MySQL AB, for example, who licenses MySQL
under the GPL, unless you want to buy a commercial license.  Although I don't
know if this model has ever had to stand up in court, it sure seems to work
OK in practice.
Again, I am NOT a lawyer.  Your company should seek professional legal advice
before using any license.  This is just advice on a particular strategy you
can present to your lawyer.   In no way will I be responsible for legal problems,
venerial diseases or lost car keys.  Nobody saw me, you can't prove anything.
Bla bla bla.

> 4) We also want to be sure that we can still extend this exception in the
> future, on
> the same released files, in example for allowing a partner to include this files
> in
> its proprietary program. Is this possible ?
> I'm ready to answer any other questions to clarify all those points...
> Thanks for your help,
> Arnaud Quette / Jérôme Lecuivre
> MGE UPS SYSTEMS - R&D Department
> /************************************************************************************************************
> This file is part of the MGE UPS SYSTEMS HID Parser.
>      Copyright (C) 1998-2003 MGE UPS SYSTEMS,
>           Written by Luc Descotils.
>      This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
>      it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
>      the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
>      (at your option) any later version.
>      This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
>      but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
>      GNU General Public License for more details.
>      You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
>      along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
>      Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
>      In addition, as a special exception, MGE UPS SYSTEMS grants itself
>      permission to link the code of this HID Parser with its own
>      proprietary softwares (already existing or future), which HID Parser is
>      extracted from, and distribute the resulting binaries without causing the
>      resulting work to be covered by the GNU General Public License.
>      Any other work based on this file and not covered by the above
>      exception is governed by the GNU General Public License.
> ************************************************************************************************************/
> --
> license-discuss archive is at

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies

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