Searching clarification on OSI and libraries

Peter Prohaska pitrp at
Sat Nov 22 22:54:57 UTC 2003

Hello .*.

I stumbled over the GPL as license used for a library today.
You guess it... no linking or dlopening allowed.

I have been reading some few of the licenses published on OSI.
Tough material if english is not your native language.
Finally i am completely confused and whish for someone brave enough
to add a section named "Human readable library diff" or something
to the FAQ section of the website.

Context first...

1. Someone asked me if i was interested to help adding support
   for some protocol to a product that is sold commercially.
   There are a few libraries providing an interface for that protocol.

One implementation i favor is plublished under the GPL.
That means that i can only support it using some sort of wrapper that
communicates using pipes or sockets.
Problem is that a wrapper approach is not acceptable for the party that
asked for help.
Conclusion is that this special library will not be supported. That
means an option for testing and spreading it is wasted here.

2. I have a personal project i work on and i want to publish it as open
   source. It will consist of a library and one or two example programs
   that make use of the library.

I am searching for a license for my project now.
- I want the code to be usable for as many people as possible
- I definitly want to allow comercial products to use the library
- I want that people can write modules that the library dlopens at
  runtime and those shall have whatever license the owner thinks is
- I want the library core to stay a working little changable thing and
  publically available
- I want to allow people to copy parts of the example application and
  use them as a starting point for whatever they are working
- I want to avoid that someone copies the whole example, adds a 10 line
  gui and sells it as his Root Of All Evil.exe

I first thought about GPL for the example and LGPL for the library.
But then noone can copy files from there and start their own project
with them.
The point is that I want to make it as easy as possible to start using
the library in order to have a good chance to spread it.

If I put the library part under the OSL, is it allowed to link it to
comercial programms then?

What are the differences between GPL and OSL?
What is the intention of OSL? Is it ment as a replacement for GPL for
people that are not as drastic as RMS?

The last and most confusing issue is the documentation:

 You generate API documentation from comments in libfoo.c and add it
 to bar.xml.
 Then you add intentions.xml to bar.xml.
 Finally you extract some random code as an example from appfoo.c and
 add it to bar.xml.

Q: What license has bar.xml now?
A: LSL (License Soup License)

Is LSL OSI certified? ;)

Thanks in advance, sorry for the length,
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