[License-discuss] Option to fall back from GPL to ASL

Richard Eckart de Castilho richard.eckart at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 21:26:49 UTC 2015

Hi all,

I am relatively new here, yet this seems to be the most appropriate venue to ask a question that has been nagging me for a while now.

I'm involved in a project that consists of multiple modules, most are ASL licensed, but some are GPL licensed.

The reason why we use GPL for a few modules is that these modules have make use of GPLed libraries - and our understand is that due to the reciprocal licensing, that means our code must be GPL-licensed as well. 

However, we actually would prefer if all our code was basically under the ASL because that makes it much easier for us to refactor stuff and move code between modules if necessary.

So part of this situation is covered by a contributor license agreement which says that everything that goes into the GPLed modules is essentially covered by ASL terms and conditions.

However, the CLA we get isn't "handed down" to the users of our modules. So they essentially only see the GPL license on some modules.

So why does this bother us?

Lets say we have module FOO which depends on the library BAR which is GPL - so we release FOO under GPL.

The vendors of BAR also offer a commercial license for BAR. If somebody buys that license, we want them to be able to use FOO under the commercial-friendly ASL terms without having to give them any extra permission. Right now, those people would still face the GPL label on FOO even though they removed it for themselves from BAR by buying a license.

I wonder if it was valid to add a statement like

"This software is provided under the terms of the GPL *as long as mandated by the reciprocal terms of libraries used by this software*. Any code removed from this software falls back to ASL unless it continues to depend on GPL code. Likewise, all code automatically becomes ASL if it no longer depends on GPL code, e.g. through alternative license agreements with the vendors of the respective code."

Or if anybody has faced a similar situation, it would be great to hear how you have resolved it.


-- Richard

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