[Haskell-cafe] Re: Hmm, what license to use?

Malcolm Wallace Malcolm.Wallace at cs.york.ac.uk
Thu Oct 2 11:16:46 EDT 2008

>               The GPL and LGPL are needlessly difficult for mere
> mortals to understand in their entirety, and as you've alluded to,
> many lawyers would interpret it differently.  I suspect many different
> judges would too.

I think the evidence is rather to the contrary.  Most lawsuits involving
the GPL are settled out of court, precisely because the lawyers for the
violating party tend to realise they have no leg to stand on.  Of those
few cases which have made it to court, the judge has always decided in
favour of the GPL.  That is, the GPL is as solid a guarantee of code
freedom as you could wish for.

The lesson, from the point of view of an entity that wants to distribute
non-free code but making use of some free code, is simply to play nicely
with the community whose work you are using gratis.  Keeping to the
original authors' intent is ultimately cheaper than either writing your
own replacement code, or paying lawyers to fight it out.

In addition, if you want legal certainty , most GPL authors would
probably be happy to assign you a separate non-exclusive commercial
license, in return for a small payment or royalty agreement.


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