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

Magnus Therning magnus at therning.org
Fri Sep 26 03:24:10 EDT 2008

Recently I received an email with a question regarding the licensing
of a module I've written and uploaded to Hackage.  I released it under
LGPL.  The sender wondered if I would consider re-licensing the code
under BSD (or something similar) that would remove the need for users
to provide linkable object files so that users can re-link programs
against newer/modified versions of my library.

Now I have fairly strong feelings about freedom of code and I
everything I release is either under GPL or LGPL.  What I like about
those licenses is it protects freedom in a way that I think it should
and it forces a sort of reciprocity which resonates very well with my
selfishness.  Re-licensing code under BSD is not something I'm willing
to do without something that compensates for that reciprocity, and I
can think of several kinds of compensation here but they all pretty
much boil down to either fame or fortune. ;-)

Once GHC supports dynamic binding on all platforms (or at least the
major ones) this issue will (largely) go away (thanks Andrew for
reporting on the state of this), but until then LGPL does create a
large burden for users of my module.  Until that happens I wouldn't
mind re-licensing the code under a license that has the reciprocity
attribute of LGPL on the source level, but does allow for static
linking without requiring the availability of linkable object files.
Is there such a license?

I've heard that the OCaml crowd uses a modified LGPL with a static
linking exception.  Unfortunately I've also heard that their addition
to LGPL hasn't gotten much review by lawyers, I'd much rather use
something that feels less ad hoc, if you get what I mean.

Any suggestions?


Magnus Therning                        (OpenPGP: 0xAB4DFBA4)
magnus@therning.org          Jabber: magnus@therning.org
http://therning.org/magnus         identi.ca|twitter: magthe

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