ExtJS licencing

Carsten Agger agger at c.dk
Thu Nov 12 11:42:01 UTC 2009

On Thu, 2009-11-12 at 07:51 +0000, Simon Morris wrote:
> 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
> Doing some research I came across one blog that suggests that the
> licencing model is harmful to Free Software
> http://pablotron.org/?cid=1556
> What is the lists opinion on this? Is ExtJS using the licence fairly
> is it considered ethical to use the library based on the blogs
> criticisms?

Here's my opinion, FWIW, only based on the blog story:

Licensing a library under the GPL *is* rather restrictive, since it
means only applications under the GPL may use the library. Until
recently, the Qt was under the GPL, which meant that any and all native
KDE applications must be under the GPL and no other licensing was
possible (unless you purchased a license or otherwise got permission
from Trolltech). 

The practise is common, however, and as far as software freedom goes
there is no ethical problem in licensing a library under the GPL, since
this means that only free software can be written using this library.
Richard Stallman has even advocated this practise to ensure as many
programs as possible end up being free software.

But yes, it does mean you can't write BSD-licensed code with ExtJS. But
in that case, people who want their code to be under a BSD license
always have the option of not using the library. For people who want
their application to be under the GPL v. 3.0 (and thus free software
according to FSF's definition) there is no ethical problem at all in
using the library.


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