[gst-devel] GStreamer licensing policy

Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller christian.schaller at collabora.co.uk
Wed Jun 11 17:21:55 CEST 2008

Hi everyone,
So due to cdparanoia getting relicensed from GPLv2 to LGPLv3 we had a
little discussion yesterday on IRC. The reason for the relicensing was a
request from me due to our policy of not allowing anything in
gst-plugins-good or gst-plugins-base which depends on a GPL library.

What I didn't even notice right away is that Monty chose to use LGPLv3
with cdparanoia instead of LGPLv2, which is what GStreamer use.

This has brought forth a few issues which I felt it would be prudent to
have a public discussion about.

If you start by looking at our licensing policy:

Our policy so far has been LGPL(v2) or freer. While our licensing policy
do mention that MPL would be acceptable I do not think we have any code
in base or good actually depending on the MPL, and due to Debian at
least considering some versions of the MPL as a non-free license I guess
we might want to remove the mention of MPL from the list.(ok, bit of a
side-issue there).

Anyway, the LGPLv3 gives us some trouble because it is actually a little
stricter than the (L)GPLv2 (mostly in relation to the anti-DRM stuff
afaik) which means if we allow LGPLv3 in base and good then we are no
longer compatible with GPL2-only applications. 'Normal' GPLv2 or higher
apps are fine, the same are all apps under a non-viral license (LGPL,
MIT, Commercial etc.).
FYI: http://gplv3.fsf.org/dd3-faq

This might not be a problem in practice as I do not know of any
GPL2-only applications using GStreamer for cdripping atm, but there
might be some and if one wants to be pedantic one could claim that
shipping the new (LGPLv3) cdparanoia with any GStreamer application
(even if they do not do cd-ripping themselves) could be considered a
license violation.

So we either decide that we do not accept LGPLv3 as a dependency for
base and good (which means that unless I can get Monty to switch to
LGPLv2 we will have no cd-ripping plugin in base and good) or we decide
that while GStreamer stays LGPLv2 it is fine for plugins in base and
good to depend on libraries which are LGPLv3.



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