[I18n-sig] Codec licenses

Tim Peters tim.one@home.com
Fri, 26 Jan 2001 16:01:17 -0500

> Exactly this effect of the GNU licenses was the reason why I
> chose the GNU GPL for JapaneseCodecs.  I wanted my software to
> be shared by people forever.

Guido does too <smile>.  The GPL forces everyone who uses your code to make
*their* code fall under the GPL too.  So by using it, you're also telling
other people how they have to license their own software (provided they want
to use yours).  That's part of the GNU philosophy, of course.  You should
read Stallman's "Why you shouldn't use the Library GPL for your next


Unless you code is impossible to duplicate by other means, people who
*don't* want to put their own software under the GPL have a choice:  they
can implement their own library, and sooner or later someone will, and
release it under a less drastic license than the GPL, and then the GPL'ed
version will get used less and less.  That's why the LGPL was invented.

> To the best of my knowledge BSD licenses allow someone to make
> that software proprietary and closed-source.

Absolutely.  That has no effect on your code, though:  people can still come
to you to get your code.  You're the only one who can change your licensing
terms.  For example, Python is used in some closed-source projects and we
couldn't care less.  Well, actually, we're happy they're using Python!  It
doesn't stop you from getting Python from us, and doing whatever *you* want
to do with it, so it's hard to see how anyone could feel injured (we don't
feel injured, you're happy, and the closed-source people are happy too).

> This aspect is a contrast to the aforementioned effect of the GNU
> GPL/LGPL.  That's why I prefer the latter licenses.

The GPL and the LGPL shouldn't be lumped together:  they're very different.
Stallman's essay (above) should make that clearer.