What's the difference between OSL and LGPL?

Fabian Bastin bastin at iro.umontreal.ca
Wed Nov 19 03:11:51 UTC 2008

IMHO, a major difference is that a modified work originally covered by 
the LGPL can be released under the GPL, as explained in the extract 
below. Therefore, you could loose all the compatibility benefits of the 
LGPL, compared to the GPL, soon or later. I therefore personally feel 
safer with OSL than with LGPL.

"If you modify a copy of the Library, and, in your modifications, a 
facility refers to a function or data to be supplied by an Application 
that uses the facility (other than as an argument passed when the 
facility is invoked), then you may convey a copy of the modified version:

     * a) under this License, provided that you make a good faith effort 
to ensure that, in the event an Application does not supply the function 
or data, the facility still operates, and performs whatever part of its 
purpose remains meaningful, or
     * b) under the GNU GPL, with none of the additional permissions of 
this License applicable to that copy."

Remco wrote:
> That document says:
> "That independent source code need not be disclosed. In this respect,
> OSL 3.0 is more like LGPL than GPL in its effect, although it
> accomplishes that with far fewer words and far less uncertainty."
> This is the only mention of the LGPL, and it says it looks like LGPL.
> The document makes me believe it is essentially the same license, only
> more clear; as if it's LGPL v4, but without the compatibility.
> Both the LGPL and the OSL do the following things:
> * Allow modification and translation of the code if it is released
> under the same license.
> * Allow to be linked with proprietary software.
> * Require a patent grant from the authors
> * Disclaim warranty and liability.
> As far as I can see, those are the important parts of the license.
> Copyright is handled, patents are handled, trademark is ignored.
> A few differences with the LGPL:
> * The OSL requires a reasonable effort to get assent from the user.
> * The OSL doesn't give an exception for use inside a company, whereas
> it doesn't count as distribution with the LGPL.
> * The OSL doesn't restrict distribution on consumer electronics that
> prevent modification by the user.
> That's what I could come up with. Did I miss something major?
> Remco
> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 12:31 AM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:
>> Read the explanation of the OSL. It differs from the LGPL. See the link at
>> the bottom of this: http://opensource.org/licenses/osl-3.0.php
>> /Larry

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