Combining GPL and non-GPL code
andrew.wilson at intel.com
Fri Aug 17 21:42:04 UTC 2007
Chris Travers wrote:
> "From a pragmatic point of view, although GPL requires you to mark
> code changes, in the real world this doesn't always happen. The user
> who has received a copy of a derivative should see the original
> BSD copyrights intact in the sources, but he/she is probably
> to assume the original code is also intact."
> My reading of the GPL does not require a GPL project maintainer to
change files from
> BSD-licensed to GPL-licensed. If the file has a BSD copyright/License
notice, I would
> argue that it is BSD-licensed *regardless of* its place in a larger
> Similarly nothing in the GPL prevents an author from releasing half of
the code under
> other licenses provided that these licenses are compatible with the
> Hence it probably doesn't matter if the original code is intact if the
> and copyright notice is. By including that copyright notice (even
for a stated part
> of the file), I would argue that the author has *granted you* all
relevant rights under
> the BSD license.
> "If the code does contain any modifications, if those modifications
are made to a
> GPL'd derivative they are automatically GPL."
> No. If those modifications are derivative of code covered under the
GPL to which the
> author does not have rights to grant additional licenses, then they
must be released
> under the same license.
1. You are quoting me without attribution, which I thank you not to do.
2. John Cowan and I, along with several other contributors, walked our
through the question of which license applies to a program where GPL
BSD code have been intermingled at the source level within a module
(not at the multiple file or archive level). After looking at some
the issue from a variety of different points of view, I think it is
fair to say that John and I and the other contributors agreed
the answer is "GPL."
If you have a refutation of this carefully developed consensus answer
based on a fact-based argument, please post it. If you do not have a
reasoned counter-argument, please refrain from posting. "My reading
absent any citations to support your opinion is not a fact-based
3. The concept that the BSD copyright allows relicensing is one of the
points of open source licensing to get one's mind around.
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