French GPL-compatible License

Thomas Linden tom at
Mon Jul 12 22:04:54 UTC 2004

On Mon, Jul 12, 2004 at 10:52:49PM +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> You can never relicence other people's code. The GPL doesn't allow you
> to do that either - so, I don't think you're right to call the GPL
> "infecting".

The GPL forces me to relicense code - my code. If I write some new code,
which I want to license some way (but not under GPL) and use a couple
of .c files of an existing gpl'ed project, the GPL *tells* me that
the resulting code must also be released under the GPL.
The BSD license on the other hand does not tell me how I do have to
license my code. I can use bsd-licensed code however I like, I don't
have to release the resulting source under some bsd license; this
allows me to create a new GPL project which includes e.g. FreeBSD
code. So, there is definitively a difference which makes them
incompatible. This is the cause why most (I'm not sure if this is the
case for all) BSD base systems do not include GPL code. They always
put such stuff into the ports, not the base, to make sure the base
will always be licensable under the BSD license.

I don't want to flame against the GPL (I use it in my own projects),
but it is not the holy grail, and I don't see, why people "should"
use a gpl-compatible license.

- Tom 

 Thomas Linden   (  tom at co dot daemon dot de
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