Writing an exception to LGPL for a C++ template library

BenoƮt Jacob jacob at math.jussieu.fr
Wed Oct 25 10:27:48 UTC 2006

Hi List,

We're developing a C++ template library and planning to release it under LGPL 
plus an exception. I'm writing in the hope that someone here can help us with 
properly formulating this exception.

The exception that we want to formulate is very simple:

We want to allow any software of any kind under any license to use our 
template library in any way, while remaining distributable under its own 

But while we allow unrestricted _use_, we want to only allow _changes_ under 
the terms of the LGPL, so that back-contribution of changes is forced. This 
is why we're choosing the LGPL and not the BSD, for instance.

Our problem is that we aren't lawyers, so it's difficult to reach a correct 
formulation. One of us came up with this formulation:

> As a special exception, you may consider instantiation of templates or use
> of macros or inline functions from this file en pair with using a normal
> linked library. Thus you can use it this way without causing the using part
> to be converted into the LGPL. This file itself is however always covered
> by the LGPL.

Any feedback on it would be much appreciated. We guess it should be 
reformulated, but don't know how.

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