[License-discuss] Fwd: Yet another question about using libraries with different licensed in OSS

Massimo Zaniboni massimo.zaniboni at asterisell.com
Wed Jan 18 21:00:59 UTC 2017

On 18/01/2017 21:30, Alex Rousskov wrote:

>> GPL and Apache License require explicitely to put an header file in each
>> source code file with:
> AFAIK, neither GPL nor Apache license actually _require_ this. You may
> have missed the "END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS" markers when reading the
> corresponding web pages.

1) I'm consulting https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

"You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating 
that You changed the files;"

This seems to suggest to add something like

   Copyright 2017 me at example.net

to the header of a source code file.

[https://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0#apply] there is the 
boilerplate notice, and also if the text is not 100% clear, it seems 
that it must be added to every source code file.

2) In https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html it says explicitely

"How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs
attach the following notices to the program. It is safest to attach them 
to the start of each source file to most effectively state the exclusion 
of warranty; and each file should have at least the “copyright” line and 
a pointer to where the full notice is found.

and then there is the usual boilerplate.

So for Apache and GPL the suggested way is attaching the usual 
boilerplate header to every source code file. I'm not a lawyer but at 
this point I suspect that the usual/suggested way is the same also for 
BSD. Also because a file is a strong container of source code, and so it 
is 100% clear who are the authors, and which license is applied to the 


>> - the AUTHORS (but not who made typos/small bug-fixes)
> Yes, and a committee of lawyers that determine whether a given
> contribution warrants adding its author to the source code file(s) plus
> a dedicated group of developers that have nothing better to do but move
> author lines from one source file to another when the code is
> reshuffled. And an Oracle that remembers who wrote what and removes no
> longer valid author entries as the code gets deleted. Oh, and do not
> forget a small group of assistants that change all those duplicated
> author emails when author employer changes (while following up with the
> old employer for a permission to change competitorA.com emails to
> competitorB.com emails in sources).</sarcasm>
>> - a short version of the license terms
> There is no "short version" of GPL or Apache terms. What folks often put
> in source code files is a reference to a document that contains the
> actual license(s). It is up to each project to determine the exact text
> of that reference, keeping various official recommendations (i.e., the
> stuff _after_ TERMS AND CONDITIONS) and the number of applicable
> licenses in mind.
> Alex.
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Massimo Zaniboni

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