Third party plugins and licenses

Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller uraeus at
Wed Feb 16 02:16:33 PST 2011

Hi Damien,
The old email reply is still valid. The lgplv2 license of GStreamer
enables you to write your own plugins under almost any license you want
and just dynamically link them to GStreamer.

As for v2.1 vs versus 3 GStreamer has no plans on switching to lgplv3
currently, but the current license is v2.1 or later so if you for some
reason prefer your copy to be lgplv3 that is of course possible.


On Wed, 2011-02-16 at 10:45 +0100, Damien Thébault wrote:
> Hello,
> 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
> modified.
> 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?
> Thanks
> [1]
> [2]

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