Changing GPGME's license

Werner Koch wk at
Mon Jul 21 18:59:55 CEST 2003

On 18 Jul 2003 17:24:31 -0500, Robert J Hansen said:

> I don't see how this amounts to taking your code proprietary.  All the
> code you wrote remains free to the world.  Admittedly, the LGPL doesn't
> enforce code-sharing as heavily as the GPL--but I think it's
> disingenuous to claim that LGPLing software runs the risk of free
> software being taken proprietary.

Of course, the LGPLed code can't be taken proprietary but it opens
some loopholes.  One example: There used to be no free SSH
implementation for many years despite the fact that all the crypto
stuff of SSH was heavily based on a modified version of the LPGed GMP
(math library).  So they got a real advantage without given anything
back.  Of course I agree that the effect of SSH was an overall
positive one and thus the LGPLed GMP made sense.  OTOH, I am pretty
sure, nobody thought about such a use of the GMP in the beginning and
thus didn't care too much about the proprietary advantages.

> other GPLed pieces of software.  In this light, you can view an LGPLed
> GPGME as a way to get a "foot in the door", so to speak, with GPLed
> software.

Correct.  However, the use of GPLed programs is pretty common - even
Microsoft distributes GNU tools as part of some development kits.

> If I was a commercial software developer, I might well be skittish about
> using GnuPG for anything.  But given the choice between a very expensive

Why?  It is pretty common to use GnuPG or other GPL software in
proprietary products.  See above.

> If you're not making any money from GPGME now, and you won't be making
> any money off GPGME if you LGPL it, then it's not going to have an
> impact on your bottom line to LGPL it or if you keep it GPLed. 

Well, yes.  However the question is how high I value a free crypto
goals and whether we can keep maintaining gpgme for free.

> It's absolutely fair to ask this.  Have you considered the Street
> Performer Protocol?  I.e., say "our goal is $5000 US; once this is hit,
> it's LGPLed, until then it's GPLed"?

Yes, this is an option.



Werner Koch                                      <wk at>
The GnuPG Experts                      
Free Software Foundation Europe	       

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