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RE: licensing ... [Re: binary XML API and scientific use cases [Re: [xml-dev] [ANN] nux-1.0beta2 release

From: Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) <RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:44:03 -0600
Message-ID: <71C38086EA230D43941DD0A3BAFF8CA9059526@bocnte2k3.hou150.chevrontexaco.net>
To: "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw@lig.net>, "John Cowan" <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org, public-xml-binary@w3.org

I believe that there is some confusion here between GPL and LGPL. Or at
least if you folks aren't confused you are confusing me, and by
extension possibly others.  Note that the notes below differ in which
one they refer to, and some of the links in other postings have, I
believe, been to discussions of GPL whereas the initial question was, I
think, about LGPL.  As I understand it GPL and LGPL are different, and
LGPL is weaker than GPL.  See, for example,
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/lgpl-license.php, which I beieve is
the "authoritative source" on LGPL somebody was asking for earlier.

Just speaking personally, LGPL may be weaker than GPL, but I read the
document referenced above and I must confess that I still find it a bit
scary.  I do understand that many people are comfortable with these
licenses, but I think it's really a good idea to understand them clearly
if you are going to have anything to do with software using them.

-----Original Message-----
From: public-xml-binary-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-xml-binary-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Stephen D.
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 10:47 PM
To: John Cowan
Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org; public-xml-binary@w3.org
Subject: Re: licensing ... [Re: binary XML API and scientific use cases
[Re: [xml-dev] [ANN] nux-1.0beta2 release

No, that is not right.  Eben, who as I mentioned often represents FSF in

some sense and as a technical law professor should know, didn't draw 
that distinction.  I would argue that it is an artificial semantic 

LGPL allows you to use a library  in a program (or another library) that

has any license, but not distributing a modified library without source 
code.  Using a library means any use, while modifying it means actually 
changing the source code that went into the library.

Subclassing is not different semantically from creating a new class with

an instance of the LGPL'd class, creating a corresponding public method 
for every public method in the original class, and calling, with or 
without additional semantics, the corresponding LGPL'd method.  Both 
simply use the LGPL'd class without modifying its source code.

The intent of LGPL is to allow use of any kind in any kind of program 
while maintaining the integrity of the LGPL'd library.  If you include 
the library and decide to call one of your own methods instead of one in

the library, you haven't distributed a modified version of the library.

You could in fact distribute a binary-only commercial library or 
application that uses the unmodified LGPL'd library.


John Cowan wrote:

>Stephen D. Williams scripsit:
>>The language or programming paradigm in use doesn't determine the 
>>of compliance, nor does whether the GPL'd code has been modified. The 
>>situation is no different than the one where your code depends on
>>or dynamic linking of a GPL'd library, say GNU readline. Your code, in

>>order to operate, must be combined with the GPL'd code, forming a new 
>>combined work, which under GPL section 2(b) must be distributed under 
>>the terms of the GPL and only the GPL. If the author of the other code

>>had chosen to release his JAR under the Lesser GPL, your contribution
>>the combined work could be released under any license of your
>But that leaves open the question of subclassing.  If some application 
>classes are subclasses of classes in the LGPL library, does that make 
>the total application a "work based on the library"?  The FSF seems to 
>think so (as does the Apache Software Foundation), because a Java 
>program is essentially one big library.

swilliams@hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw@lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw
Received on Tuesday, 23 November 2004 18:45:53 UTC

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