compatibility Re: License committee report for January 2008

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Mon Jan 28 20:05:38 UTC 2008

On Jan 28, 2008 8:17 PM, Ernest Prabhakar <ernest.prabhakar at> wrote:
> Hi Alexander,
> Not sure what your point is.  The FSF -- like the OSI -- discourage
> incompatibility, and work hard to minimize it.  That is very different
> than mandating it.  In fact, given our anti-proliferation policy, we
> might actually take a harder line about incompatibility than they do.

Really? And that would mean what, exactly? Note that according to the
FSF President "compatibility" actually means "relicencing" under the

"The idea is that there are some other Free Software licences which
are compatible with the GPL meaning that if a program is released
under one of those licences, that licence gives, effectively,
permission to relicence under the GPL. There are two ways that can
happen. Some licences explicitly say "you can also use this program
under the GNU GPL". In other cases, it's because the licence is so
permissive that to relicence it under the GNU GPL is permitted."

"I don't think it is wrong in general to relicense code from BSD to GPL."

See also:

from his reply to me and a bunch of others (he CCed it to openbsd-misc
but it arrived there after they've banned him and so it didn't show up
in archives):

   This may be *your* "usual interpretation of the revised BSD license"

Eben Moglen says that it is nearly universal among lawyers.
As this is a legal issue, I have confidence in him.

So what does "compatibility" regarding licenses mean (translated from


"Because of their informal and diffuse nature, open source groups are
vulnerable to theft of their intellectual property. That theft, in the
form of copyright infringement, happened in this case, and Jacobsen
sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin Katzer and KAMIND's


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