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If we're going to be building open source software we presumably need to decide on an open source license.

Is GPL appropriate? We run the risk of excluding commercial use.

What about more generic open source licenses? Who's familiar with these things.

While Richard Stallman disagrees, the LGPL (Library GPL or now Lesser GPL) is a better fit. LGPL allows libraries to be used in commercial work. My understanding is that to use LGPL covered code in commercial works one must: a) acknowledge the use of the material b) provide access to the source of the library to users of the commercial work. The latter can be done by providing a link to a web site that contains the library. Of course in Smalltalk shipping source with a product is norm not the exception. --Roger Whitney

I have only little knowledge about all of this. I see it as 2 levels of issues, perhaps we could make a intention statement to start with and then find the best fit (BSD, Squeak, LGPL, ...). The 2 levels is a static license and then a conformaty stamp for change management. Static license:

Conformaty stamp (there has got to be a better term for this) I'm sorry that these are issues but they are very important to create a trusted and dependable set of standards, aren't they? --Rob Withers

From the XML DomLevel 2 project: INDELV's response about Kazuki Yasumatsu's copyright

Can someone provide a dummies guide to the various open-source license schemes?

E.g. from: www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html we see:

BSD, GPL and LGPL are the only ones I know of that have not shown a flaw in years (well some think that the GPL is itself a flaw...) In particular, since the GPL is widely adopted, even if we don't use it is important to be compatible with it, and the MPL (or the ParcPlace license) are not compatible with it.

The MPL says that modifications to a particular library can be made proprietary if you put them into a separate file; I don't understand what this means in Smalltalk terms, but it is incompatible with the GPL, period.

For Smalltalk programs (e.g. the Refactoring Browser, or the ANSI test suite, or the SIF filer) I'd pick the GPL but I understand somebody would not like it. For Smalltalk components, a good choice would be the BSD or LGPL licenses; if you want to use the MPL, please specify an alternative license which is GPL-compatible.

Paolo Bonzini

There is an excellent overview of open source licenses in the Open Sources book. (ISBN 1-56592-582-3). The same information is also at opensource.org/licenses/ without the handy-dandy overview.

From Open Sources p. 185:

  License   Mixed with non-free   Mixed with GPL   Mods taken private   Relicense   Special privileges for copyright holder
  GPL     X      
  LGPL   X   X      
  BSD   X   X   X   X  
  NPL   X     X     X
  MPL   X     X    
  Public Domain   (by relicensing)   (by relicensing)   X   X  

Peter Kwangjun Suk

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