interpreted language specific open source license ?

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Fri Mar 4 12:23:29 UTC 2005

On Fri, 2005-03-04 at 13:11 +0100, Herko Coomans wrote:

> The problem we have is this: XOOPS is released under the GNU GPL 2.0 
> license. XOOPS is object oriented and modular, meaning the core provides 
> many methods for modules to use (membership management, ACL, rendering, 
> caching etc.). Recently we've had some discussion on when a module is to 
> be considered 'part of the whole program', and therefore licensed under 
> the GPL as well. Some people say that as long as it doesn't include any 
> of the GPL code *in the release*, it's ok. We say that this is not true, 
> and that our interpretation is that if the module *depends* on the GPL 
> code to function as intended, then it cannot be run standalone without 
> the GPL code, and should be considered as part of the whole program. The 
> GPL itself talks about dynamic library linking or something like that 
> (I'm not a developer), but this is geared towards compiled languages, 
> where the availability of the source code is not as default as it is 
> with interpreted languages like PHP.

The GPL doesn't mention dependencies or dynamic linking or anything like
that - it mentions derived works. If you want to know whether a module
is a derived work of the core code or not, you're likely to need to
consult a lawyer (though the FSF will give you their opinion if you ask

> Does anyone know of a good open source license geared towards 
> interpreted languages like php scripts? Or is the GPL clear enough on 
> this issue and have I missed something completely?

That depends entirely on what you want the license to cover. It's
difficult for you to produce something that will cover things that
aren't derived works and still have it considered an open source
license. OSD 9 could be argued to prohibit it.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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