Licensing issues with dbus and dbus-glib

Havoc Pennington hp at
Fri May 18 09:18:58 PDT 2007


John (J5) Palmieri wrote:
> Rhythmbox is in the process of re-licensing their codebase to GPL
> +Exception for proprietary gstreamer codec.  Since GPL is incompatible
> with the AFL they can not use the AFL but since they have the exception
> clause they can not unilaterally add that exception to the GPL license
> for dbus-glib and D-Bus.  Any reason why we didn't lgpl the library
> bits?

The basic reason is the patent clause in the AFL. And that the AFL is 
clearer/less-impossible-to-understand than LGPL, in general.

While IANAL, perhaps the libdbus situation is not different from LGPL. 
The LGPL would be GPL-incompatible also, except it says in it "you can 
choose to GPL instead" - i.e. basically anything under LGPL is 
dual-licensed under the LGPL rules or GPL. libdbus is saying the same thing.

The solution for Rhythmbox is pretty simple though: include 
libdbus-under-AFL in the exception clause. That avoids having to figure 
out all the weird licensing corner cases and just makes it clearly OK.
It also avoids tracking down all the dbus contributors to change the 
dbus license.


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