ExtJS licencing

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at benfinney.id.au
Thu Nov 12 11:38:27 UTC 2009

Simon Morris <mozrat at gmail.com> writes:

> I'm looking at ExtJS as a Javascript library for building UIs. It is
> dual licenced under GPL and a commerical licence.
> http://www.extjs.com/products/license.php

It's disingenuous for them to call only one of those a “commercial
license”. The GPL positively encourages commerce; it's quite definitely
a commercial license, and GPL-licensed software is sold every day across
the world.

If they spoke about the GPL as a free software license, this distinction
would be clearer: those who want to encourage recipients's freedom can
choose the GPL, while those who want to restrict recipients's freedom
can pay for the privilege of having that power over others.

> Doing some research I came across one blog that suggests that the
> licencing model is harmful to Free Software
> http://pablotron.org/?cid=1556

Reading that article, it's harmful only to *non*-free software. That is,
the author is complaining that software licensed under the GPL (because
of its copyleft nature) gives no assistance to those who want to derive
non-free software from it.

But copyright holders who deliberately choose the GPL consider it a
desirable feature of that license that the act of making non-free
software is thwarted, while allowing the creation of more free software.

The rest of it is the usual “we want permission to redistribute the work
under any license terms we choose, but we don't like others to use that
same permission to redistribute under the GPL”.

> What is the lists opinion on this? Is ExtJS using the licence fairly

As far as I can tell, the copyright holder has every right to
redistribute their derived work under any license terms they choose —
that's permitted explicitly by the terms of the license they received.

> and is it considered ethical to use the library based on the blogs
> criticisms?

They're using that permission to redistribute under the terms of the
GPLv3, whose terms I find eminently ethical. Permissive free-software
licenses are fine, but I prefer copyleft licenses (such as the GPL) as
*more* ethical.

 \        “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you |
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Ben Finney

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