[Nagiosplug-devel] Plugin licensing

Gavin Carr gavin at openfusion.com.au
Thu Jul 19 13:02:07 CEST 2007

On Thu, Jul 19, 2007 at 09:47:21AM +0100, Ton Voon wrote:
> On 19 Jul 2007, at 07:03, sean finney wrote:
> > On Wednesday 18 July 2007 23:19:55 Kevin Menard wrote:
> >> 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?
> Sean's response was accurate, from my point of view, so I've stuck it  
> on our website:
> http://nagiosplugins.org/index.php? 
> option=com_easyfaq&task=view&id=12&Itemid=29&mosmsg=Changes+to+item 
> +saved
> Any comments?
> I was thinking that when I create a new C plugin, I usually copy an  
> existing one and strip out everything except the getopt handling and  
> the help stuff. Then the new bits are just the communication with the  
> external system. However, under the definitions above, this would  
> mean it is a derived work, so would have to be GPL'd.
> Then I was thinking, maybe we could provide a library with headers  
> and have that under LGPL, but we use a lot of gnulib code (getopt  
> handling, internationalisation) which is GPL'd, not LGPL'd, so our  
> executable would have to be GPL'd.
> If you wanted to protect some intellectual property, you'd have to  
> make a library which returned all the data you wanted, and then  
> create a plugin which is GPL'd, but only uses the library API to get  
> at the information.
> Alternatively, to make a plugin NOT under GPL, you'd have to write it  
> from scratch without any external libraries which are GPL'd, which is  
> certainly possible, though a bit more work.
> Remember, the aim of the Free Software Foundation is to make all  
> software free.

Just to add another wrinkle to the discussion, on the perl side of things
the Nagios::Plugin perl module (and hence plugins that use _that_, I 
guess) are licensed under the standard Perl licence (that was you, Ton, 
right?), which is to say it's dual-licensed (at the user's choice) under
both GPL and the Perl Artistic Licence. My IANAL understanding is that 
the Perl Artistic Licence is somewhere between the GPL and BSD licences 
in terms of restrictions and freedom?


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