For Approval: GPLv3

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at
Sun Aug 26 16:49:35 UTC 2007

For some reason you have replied to your own email and slipped new text 
into the middle without quoting the points I made in my reply to this 
email. I cleaned up the quotes a bit to make it less confusing.

And again, when I was almost done with this I came up with what may be the 
point of confusion. If a BSDL program is released unmodified as a GPL v3 
program with no additional permissions, you are wondering what happened to 
the BSD license that used to be attached to it? It's still 
there...attached to the original. I, as the distributor, am under no 
obligation to explicitly grant that license to you even though you are 
trivially able to obtain that license for yourself regardless. All I am 
required to do is maintain the legal notification informing you about the 
BSDL and its disclaimer.

The fact that you could take the copy I distributed under GPL v3 and use 
it under BSDL, even if I never granted you that right, is not relevant. It 
is simply a consequence of my copy being identical to the original which 
was under BSDL, thus making my attempt to restrict it meaningless. I was 
wasting my time when I attempted to restrict how you used the code, but 
that doesn't make it illegal.

On Sun, 26 Aug 2007, Chris Travers wrote:

> Compare in the BSDL (OSI license list version):
> "Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, 
> this list of conditions and the following disclaimer."
> With (from the GPL v3) in this case relating to the Corresponding Source, 
> including "the source code for shared libraries and dynamically linked 
> subprograms that the work is specifically designed to require" (from section 
> 1, as required to be licensed under the GPL3 by section 6):

<snipped section allowing the removable of "Additional Permissions">

> Can you really tell mee that you can meet the terms of the BSDL and the GPL 
> v3 simultaneously when the BSDL code is not modified?

BSDL is perfectly symmetric with respect to modified or unmodified. The 
rights granted are identical as I said in my previous email. Note that the 
only line that grants rights says:

"Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without 
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are 

No other place mentions modifications. How in the world could it matter, 
then, whether you modified the BSDL code or not?

> The only reasonable 
> reading I can give to both licenses is that the GPL v3 requires that you give 
> the permission to remove the BSDL conditions list without (as is normally 
> required by the BSDL) a new derivative work being created in the process.

That conditions list is not a list of "Additional Permissions". For 
starters, they aren't permissions at all! They clearly are restrictions, 
and they are restrictions that are permitted under GPL v3 section 7a-f. 
They appear in your code/executable as "Appropriate Legal Notices" for 
display purposes, and for legal purposes they fall in the class of 
restrictions which are NOT "further restrictions" because they are 
enumerated in section 7a-f. You are therefore required to keep them, just 
as the BSDL requires.

As for the BSDL itself being an additional permission, it is. It is an 
additional permission you are free to remove. The fact that the original 
BSDL code continues to grant you that freedom is distinct from the fact 
that the GPL program does not and is not required to under BSDL.

> By this reading, the GPLv3 forbids you from requiring BSDL code anywhere in 
> your Corresponding Source. This is *more* incompatible with the BSDL than the 
> MS-PL is.

Your reading is incorrect.

Honestly, do you REALLY think the FSF and SFLC are so dumb that they would 
manage to prevent GPL code from using BSDL code? Let's give them a little 

Donovan Hawkins, PhD                 "The study of physics will always be
Software Engineer                     safer than biology, for while the
hawkins at                   hazards of physics drop off as 1/r^2,                biological ones grow exponentially."

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