Third party plugins and licenses

Damien Thébault damien.thebault at
Wed Feb 16 01:45:57 PST 2011


I'm trying to find some information about licenses when writing
plugins for gstreamer. I'm talking about third party plugins and not
the ones to be included in the official gstreamer packages.

>From what I heard in the previous years, gstreamer is a generic
framework allowing to use lot of plugins, either free software or
non-free/proprietary (like fluendo's mp3). The license would allow a
lot of software to use gstreamer, either applications using gstreamer
or plugins added to gstreamer.
If more people are working on gstreamer or gstreamer-related software,
then gstreamer gets better (finding/fixing bugs, adding features,
....), which is good for gstreamer as well.

In the legal faq [1] there is information about different specific
cases, but not in general about writing plugins.

In the gstreamer licensing page [2] I found some information about
license of applications relating to GPL plugins.
(I think there is something to fix about this page, it's linking to
the generic/latest LGPL page on, but it's now LGPLv3, I think
that it should link to )

In the archives themselves (gstreamer and gst-plugins) there is only
the LGPLv2 license in the COPYING file.

I found an old 2005 message that were kind of answering my question,
but I don't know if it still applies:

What I think is that it the same from the plugins point of view than
from the application point of view, that it's possible to write
non-free plugins the same way it's possible to write non-free
applications, as long as the code of the LGPLv2 lib (gstreamer) is not
And that any included GPL plugin would change gstreamer to GPL too, so
if someone writes a non-free plugin and want to redistribute a
complete package or device including it, he must pay attention to
never distribute GPL plugins at the same time.

Last but not least, is there a plan to switch to LGPLv3 or will
gstreamer stay LGPLv2 in the long term?


Damien Thebault
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