A dual license system for code libraries?

Simon Hornbachner lfodh at fsfe.org
Sun Feb 26 09:09:19 UTC 2017

Ahoy hoy,

first of all, I understand your desire to engage with proprietary
vendors in a more nuanced way than to just tell them "If you don't like
the GPL, just go away." However, such an approach does come with
certain problems and controversies.
Most importantly, you create a conflict of interest for the receiving
organization where their financial success is at odds with
strengthening Copyleft software. Bradley Kuhn puts it very good in his
recent Keynote[0] at FOSDEM, where he says
„At this point, we would get paid to just look the other way.“
The whole presentation is a very good listen regarding copyleft,
copyleft defense and freedom VS popularity of your code.

Agner Fog <agner at agner.org> wrote:
> I have asked the FSF, but they are not willing to sell licenses, and
> frankly they are quite difficult to communicate with. That's why I am
> now taking the discussion to FSFE. Is there any other suitable
> non-profit organization who could be the copyright owner and sell
> licenses?
Honestly, I don't think you'll find one, for the reasons I mentioned
earlier. For any NPO with the main goal to protect and strengthen Free
Software, buying yourself out of the need to comply with the GPL would
just be inherently at odds with their core mission.

I understand that telling proprietary vendors to either "deal with" the
GPL or go away feels like a waste of ressources and opportunity, but I
honestly believe that any other position leads us down a very very
slippery slope that in the end will not lead to more free software, but
a weaker, watered-down version of copyleft that I personally wouldn't

Best, Simon


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