Best licence for my software?

Alex Bligh alex at
Mon Apr 18 23:05:28 UTC 2005

--On 18 April 2005 21:19 +0000 Matthew Seth Flaschen <superm40 at> 

>> Which clause in the GPL says you cannot license code you own the
>> copyright to under any other version?
> I can license code I own the copyright to, but if I license it under the
> GPL, others can not license my copyrighted code under something else
> without specific permission.

If you own the copyright to the code, the fact that you license under
the GPL does not restrict you from licensing under other terms

>  This might be for example another license I
> created for the same code.  But if I just distribute my copyrighted code
> licensed under the GPL, no one can distribute a program including that
> code without source or an offer of it.

Your argument rests upon the assumption that your code is not
licensed concurrently under any other license. Trivially, it would
not apply to code dual licensed under (say) BSD and GPL.

>> I'm reading the text of the license, not the FSF's interpretation
>> thereof.
> Fair enough.  If you don't like their definition, what's yours, for the
> purpose of this discussion.

As per my previous email.

>> As far as I can tell, I can incorporate someone else's GPL into my own
>> proprietary source sitting on my machine to my heart's content.
> Then it's not proprietary because you have access.  Something is only
> proprietary when source is being denied.  You're not denying yourself
> your own source.

Proprietary means that I am proprietor. If it is not distributed,
it is still proprietary. You may see this as a corner case, but
at least on this list, having an accurate understanding of licenses
is important.

> The problem
>> comes if I *DISTRIBUTE* it, and don't make the the combined work
>> available  under the GPL, as well as under my own license. If I don't
>> distribute, what  clause in the GPL am I breaking?
> None, and I wasn't trying to imply otherwise.  It doesn't matter what you
> do with the code on your own machine.  The GPL deliberately lets you do
> whatever.  That's one of the freedoms that it's trying to protect.  The
> issue is the GPL forbids you from distributing a work based on the
> program without source available.  That's what GPL authors care about.

Indeed. I agree.


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