[License-discuss] TCPDF license: LGPLv3 + a special clause: is this still considered "Open Source"?

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Thu Nov 24 09:13:17 UTC 2011

On Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM, David Woolley
<forums at david-woolley.me.uk> wrote:
>> It is LGPL v3 +  "Additionally,  YOU CAN'T REMOVE ANY TCPDF COPYRIGHT
>> http://www.tcpdf.org/license.php
>> What do you think?
> I'd say the licence was void as it attempts to impose an additional
> restriction.  I would not use it.

It depends.

If someone created this software themselves, they can of course use
any license they can think of. So saying "our license is like LGPLv3
with this one additionally silly requirement" is in itself valid. From
this it follows that:

 - it is not LGPL, it is a different license
 - it is therefore not an OSI certified open source license
 - it is possibly not an open source license at all, this is probably
the case here
 - Since it is not LGPL, it is in any case incompatible with basically
all other (L)GPL code out there. So it is not open souce in the sense
that you could easily take code from this project to another LGPL
project and vice versa, it becomes a very isolated creature, open
source or not.

In summary, some times such additional clauses can work and the
software will still be open source, but generally these are a bad


henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-8211286 skype: henrik.ingo irc: hingo

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