[Flac-dev] Should FLAC join Xiph?

Matt Zimmerman mdz at debian.org
Fri Nov 22 07:42:01 PST 2002

On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 10:07:34PM -0800, Joshua Haberman wrote:

> Matt Zimmerman <mdz at debian.org> wrote:
> > This is a common misconception, but entirely untrue.  There are many
> > free software licenses, including the BSD-style licenses, which are
> > compatible with the GPL.
> However the combined work of a GPL'd library and a BSD-licensed
> application would indeed have to be distributed under the terms of the
> GPL, correct?  It just happens that the application's source code in this
> case is dual licensed.

Yes, it is required that the program be made available to anyone under the
terms of the GPL.  But this does not mean that non-GPL software cannot use
the library; it simply means that the resulting derived work must be made
available under the terms of the GPL.

> Indeed, it is in the interest of people who make bugfixes or improvements
> to contribute them back to the original project.  Otherwise, they have to
> do the extra work of tracking the main releases against their
> modifications.

Agreed, especially when the original project demonstrates continued
improvement and leadership.

> > I don't understand...a BSD license grants permission to redistribute the
> > software freely; it does not make sense to charge a fee for software
> > under this license because once it is given, the purchaser may give
> > copies to anyone.
> If a company has paid a large sum of money for a BSD-licensed piece of
> software they intend to use commercially, why are they going to give away
> copies for free to their competitors?

Anyone who had possession of the BSD-licensed source code could legally give
away a copy to anyone else.  Whether this would be in the company's best
interest is another matter, but once it happens, the BSD-licensed software
is "in the wild" and cannot be contained and made available only to certain

> Still, using a more restrictive license for companies who wish to keep
> their modifications private achieves the same goals without the risk of
> letting a BSD-licensed copy go into the wild (assuming you wish to keep it
> GPL).

Agreed.  I believe this is the Qt model.

 - mdz

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