Motivation for Sleepycat + MIT hybrid

Suraj N. Kurapati skurapat at
Thu Apr 12 03:11:49 UTC 2007

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> Suraj N. Kurapati wrote:
>> 1. too strong: I just want to free my source code; I don't want
>> to impose this condition on the user's own source code.
> As Andrew stated, this is the purpose of the LGPL.

Please allow me to explain:

The existing copyleft licenses require derived (copy/paste/modify)
works to be licensed under (usually) themselves upon distribution.
For example, MPL begets MPL, GPL begets GPL, and LGPL begets either

This becomes an obstacle for developers using permissive licenses,
like MIT or BSD, who want to copy/paste/modify some copyleft source
code into their own source code -- because doing so would require
their code to be licensed under the copyleft license upon
distribution. As a result, such developers tend to avoid
incorporating copylefted source code.

I want to avoid this obstacle because, for me, as long as my code is
kept free (i.e. upon distribution, source code is available and
modifications are not kept secret) then I am happy. I neither mind
nor wish to impose the incorporator's choice of license.

For this reason, I do not feel that the LGPL suits my needs.

> And unfortunately, everyone believes they have a compelling
> reason for a new license, but OSI needs to say no sometimes.
> It is undesirable to have rarely used licenses, since they
> clutter the license list and cause confusion.

I agree and have accordingly refrained from submitting my license to
the OSI for approval because there do not seem to be enough
developers wanting the same things in a license as I do.

>> I feel the LGPL is too restrictive because LGPL code can only
>> be incorporated into LGPL or GPL code.
> That is incorrect.  It can be linked into any program (even
> proprietary ones), as long as the program's license allows
> private modification (however, source need not be provided) and
> reverse engineering for debugging those modifications.

You are correct, but I was thinking in terms of
copying/pasting/modifying code rather than calling API functions or
linking to a library.

So, what I meant to say is that: when you copy/paste/modify some
LGPL code into your own code, your own code is pulled under either
LGPL or GPL upon distribution. This is the restrictiveness I was
referring to.

In contrast, if you copy/paste/modify some MIT licensed code into
your own code, your own code is not forced to become licensed under
MIT upon distribution (but you must still adhere to the MIT license
for the parts you copied). This is a feature I want in a license.

Thanks for your consideration.

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