[Nagiosplug-devel] [Nagios-users] Licensing of Official and 3rd Party Plugins

Andreas Ericsson ae at op5.se
Thu Jan 10 15:48:06 CET 2008

Holger Weiss wrote:
> * Thomas Guyot-Sionnest <dermoth at aei.ca> [2008-01-10 06:16]:
>> On 10/01/08 04:37 AM, Hari Sekhon wrote:
>>> Holger Weiss wrote:
>>>> Personally, I'm somewhat annoyed by the various incompatible Open Source
>>>> licenses floating around, as it they can make re-using code impossible
>>>> in some cases.  As the GPLv3 is yet another license which is
>>>> incompatible to everything else, I'm not really a fan of it.  I would
>>>> prefer "GPLv2 or higher" licenses over "GPLv3-only", if possible.
>> Incompatibilities among GPL license are only brought by "GPLvX-only"
>> type of licenses. Programs and libraries using "GPLvX or higher" will
>> always avoid compatibility problems among GPL licenses.
> Which is why I prefer the latter over the former, but not all people do
> it this way.  See the Linux kernel's license, for example.

It isn't really an issue for the kernel though, as it's never loaded as
a library.

>> GPL is meant to be incompatible with other licenses. If you're worried
>> about that you should use the BSD license
> Yes, I personally do :-)

BSD license has other issues. If there had ever been a perfect one, the
need for a billion different ones wouldn't be needed.

>> but keep in mind that OSS wouldn't be nearly as strong as it is with
>> BSD. Many companies contributing to OSS would just rip the code if it
>> was under the BSD license.
> That's the idea of the GPL and in some cases it definitely worked, but I
> doubt this effect is really that strong in practice.  My guess would be
> that most companies which don't want to (or cannot) contribute their
> code to OSS won't be forced by the GPL to do so, they simply won't use
> GPL code.

Or they'll use GPL code and have in-house modifications that are never
made public, which is exactly what they would have done had it been BSD-
or MIT-licensed instead.

>>> Thanks for the response, I think your points are valid. I'll continue to 
>>> use a GPL version 2 or higher license in order to try to maintain 
>>> compatibility and then I'll go GPLv3 when more people get in to it.
>> That will likely change for the next release if we update Gnulib to the
>> latest version, as they bumped their license to GPL v3.
> I thought so, too, but I checked before my other posting and most of
> Gnulib is actually LGPL'd, despite the headers in the C files:
> | Many modules are provided dual-license, either GPL or LGPL at your
> | option.  The headers of files in the lib directory (e.g., lib/error.c)
> | state GPL for convenience, since the bulk of current gnulib users are
> | GPL'd programs.  But the files in the modules directory (e.g.,
> | modules/error) state the true license of each file, and when you use
> | 'gnulib-tool --lgpl --import <modules>', gnulib-tool either rewrites
> | the files to have an LGPL header as part of copying them from gnulib
> | to your project directory, or fails because the modules you requested
> | were not licensed under LGPL.
> [ http://git.sv.gnu.org/gitweb/?p=gnulib.git;a=blob_plain;f=COPYING ]
> AFAICS, we're currently not using any of the GPL-only Gnulib files.
> Anyway, if you (or others) would like to upgrade to GPLv3, I'm perfectly
> fine with that.  I just stated my personal preference, but the license
> question isn't important to me.

For the plugins it won't matter in the slightest which version is used,
as it isn't a library and so other programs will never have to think
about it. That will only become an issue if someone tries to use the
API functions in a GPLv2-only program.

otoh, I fail to see that switching to GPLv3 buys the plugins-project
anything, so *shrug*

Andreas Ericsson                   andreas.ericsson at op5.se
OP5 AB                             www.op5.se
Tel: +46 8-230225                  Fax: +46 8-230231

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