[Nagiosplug-devel] Plugin licensing

sean finney seanius at seanius.net
Thu Jul 19 08:03:26 CEST 2007

hi kevin,

as a preface, i haven't been the most active developer as of late, so i would 
wait to hear from some of the other developers before considering a consensus 
reached.  however, i have had to deal with this issue a few times, so i'll 
chime in.

On Wednesday 18 July 2007 23:19:55 Kevin Menard wrote:
> Anyway, without getting into a licensing flamewar, I'm wondering to what
> extent the derivative works clause of the GPL applies to Nagios plugins.

from the most common interpretation, "derivative works" usually includes:

- modified versions of the plugins
- other software that contains code (modified or not) copied from the plugins
- other software that #includes header files from the plugins
- other software that has linked against library files from the plugins

and what it does not usually include:

- other software that parses the output of a plugin run from the cmdline, 
  exit status, etc
- software that provides a "wrapper" for cmdline execution of the plugin
- software that uses status codes and other values which are in the
  header files, but also described in the documentation (though not
  #including or linking to the source)

> getting murkier.  Given that I'm not a lawyer and don't profess to be
> one, I'll probably just go with the consensus here.  Does a Nagios
> plugin have to be GPL'd?

well, the plugins are still GPL'd, and if you distribute an app that includes 
the plugins, you're required to distribute a copy of the source code for the 
plugins under the terms of the GPL regardless of the licensing for the rest 
of the app.  however, as long as you stay clear of what could make your code 
considered a derivative work, it shouldn't affect any licensing plans you 
have for the rest of the app.

or at least, this is my 0.02 $currency.

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