Changing GPGME's license

Werner Koch wk at
Wed Jul 23 16:51:02 CEST 2003

On Mon, 21 Jul 2003 15:47:35 +0100, Ian Jackson said:

> Thanks for that illuminating message.  I've had some similar
> conversations with a few people about adns.

Pretty obviously.  However I guess that there was also a demand for a
BSDish license.

> I agree that this can be a useful tactic.  But, there are issues with
> trying to enforce such a thing so that the compensation doesn't turn
> out to be a one-off, leaving the library LGPL forever.

A one-off would be sufficient; in general I don't want to make a
business selling Free Software under different terms like Sleepycat.
I see support and contract development better matching our skills.  So
the GPGME thing is an exception; it just happend that I wrote it to
support Sylpheed and thus the GPL used to be the right decision.  If I
would have written GPGME for a client and he had asked for the LGPL or
the revised BSD, it is more than likely that GPGME would be under this

> What would be ideal would be a way to be able to say something like
> `this is GPL, but as far as linking with program XYZ is concerned, it
> can be treated as LGPL.'  Thus the licence change would apply only for
> mixing with certain other applications.

We already have have far too many licenses and checking compatibly can
nowdays lead to a headache (what about the dual licensed Mozilla and a
mix of plugins under different licenses).  So sticking to LGPL, GPL
and maybe an all permissive license is the easier way.

> the proprietary program with which you wish to allow mixing, this has
> another useful effect: you can vary your compensation level according
> to the project in question.  In particular, if the other project is

That would work, but I doubt that this can survice as a business
model. There is also the problem that we won't be able to take parts
from other LGPLed software (i.e. glibc) and thus need to spend time to
reinvet the wheel.

> You'd probably want to think about the status of past and future
> releases of your library wrt such a specific licence change.

I know that one can't go back to the GPL, an old LGPLed version would
still be around and given that not everyone values the protection the
GPL provides as important, that LGPLed branch will survive.

> I had a bit of a go at drafting such a limited licence change for
> adns, but I stopped when the main enquirer who was asking turned out
> not to be serious about the amount of money involved.

Alywas the same story.  Clients often tend to spend a lot of money on
questionable software licenses but hesitate to pay from Free Software.



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

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