Physical file organisation of any bearing to LGPL?

Wilson, Andrew andrew.wilson at
Fri Aug 6 01:33:00 UTC 2010

Mark Wielaard wrote:

>On Wed, 2010-08-04 at 11:42 -0700, Wilson, Andrew wrote:
>> And thanks again for the comprehensive info on library licensing.  To which,
>> let me say, Whew!  So, over time, for various libraries, FSF has used
>> LGPLv2.1
>> GPLv2 + Classpath exception
>> GPLv2 + runtime exception (similar to Classpath but subtly different)
>> LGPLv3
>> (L)GPLv3 + runtime exception (subtly different from the GPLv2 runtime exception)
> There are even parts under the MIT/W3C or even public domain if you want
> to list even more :)

True indeed. One case I just ran across is the XML files
used by remote debugging for GDB, which are under a one-line
permissive copyright notice.  And then there's GPLvX + the Bison exception ...

>> Let me just reiterate that anyone who really cares about getting license
>> compliance just right needs to consult with a real lawyer....
> :) Don't encourage the lawyers! All these exception are always designed
> so that you can just drop them and/or upgrade to the plain or higher
> license version. So just choosing some upper bound (GPLv3 in this case)
> and making sure that when stripping the exceptions/lesser licenses
> results in having one and the same (upper bound) license is often much
> simpler. As long as you aren't trying to cut corners (limiting users
> freedom) that is often simpler than trying to consult a lawyer "to get
> the most" out of these exceptions.

Not trying to encourage people to cut corners; actually, the opposite, I'm
trying to encourage people to follow what these licenses actually say.

To pick one example, GPL + runtime exception is not functionally identical to
LGPL wrt source code fulfillment.  LGPLvX says it's OK to redistribute
LGPL libraries as binaries without the corresponding source as long as (a)
the libraries are unmodified, and (b) you provide a link to the place
from whence you obtained the libraries.  Not so for GPL + runtime exception; if you
pass through the libraries in binary, modified or unmodified, you are on the hook
to provide the sources as well.  Etc., etc., these differences can
sometimes make compliance a little tricky and you need good advice.


Andy Wilson
Intel open source technology center

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