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September 03
Hi,

A few years ago I forked the Deimos X11 bindings[1] repo to add dub support. Since then my repo[2] has received bug fixes and as such it's being used in many projects. (Also, in the following years dub support was added to the Deimos repo too.) I had a question from a developer as to the license of the code in my repo. I used the LGPL because the original used it.

My question, is there a legal way to change the current license to Boost or MIT or something like? Because this particular developer wanted to use it in a project where LGPL was incompatible.

[1]: https://github.com/D-Programming-Deimos/libX11
[2]: https://github.com/nomad-software/x11
September 03
On Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 16:10:11 UTC, Gary Willoughby wrote:
> Hi,
>
> A few years ago I forked the Deimos X11 bindings[1] repo to add dub support. Since then my repo[2] has received bug fixes and as such it's being used in many projects. (Also, in the following years dub support was added to the Deimos repo too.) I had a question from a developer as to the license of the code in my repo. I used the LGPL because the original used it.
>
> My question, is there a legal way to change the current license to Boost or MIT or something like? Because this particular developer wanted to use it in a project where LGPL was incompatible.
>
> [1]: https://github.com/D-Programming-Deimos/libX11
> [2]: https://github.com/nomad-software/x11

When I first created the DerelictSDL bindings, the SDL library was LGPL (though it's since switched to MIT). I contacted Sam Lantinga (the creator of SDL) to get his take on it. He told me that his understanding was that an API binding is not a derivative work and therefore can have a separate license. I got the same answer from others. None of these folks were, or are, lawyers, but they all work for companies that have to be aware of such issues. So I felt as safe as I could be sans legal advice in licensing all of the Derelict packages under Boost.

That said, I don't know if the Oracle v. Google case and its precedent that APIs are copyrightable impact this common understanding. After all, it was commonly understood prior to that case that that copyright applies to implementations, not interfaces. Now that the court has established the opposite, does the same hold true for licensing? I don't know of any legal cases that have decided either way.
September 04
On Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 16:51:53 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:
> On Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 16:10:11 UTC, Gary Willoughby wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> A few years ago I forked the Deimos X11 bindings[1] repo to add dub support. Since then my repo[2] has received bug fixes and as such it's being used in many projects. (Also, in the following years dub support was added to the Deimos repo too.) I had a question from a developer as to the license of the code in my repo. I used the LGPL because the original used it.
>>
>> My question, is there a legal way to change the current license to Boost or MIT or something like? Because this particular developer wanted to use it in a project where LGPL was incompatible.
>>
>> [1]: https://github.com/D-Programming-Deimos/libX11
>> [2]: https://github.com/nomad-software/x11
>
> When I first created the DerelictSDL bindings, the SDL library was LGPL (though it's since switched to MIT). I contacted Sam Lantinga (the creator of SDL) to get his take on it. He told me that his understanding was that an API binding is not a derivative work and therefore can have a separate license. I got the same answer from others. None of these folks were, or are, lawyers, but they all work for companies that have to be aware of such issues. So I felt as safe as I could be sans legal advice in licensing all of the Derelict packages under Boost.
>
> That said, I don't know if the Oracle v. Google case and its precedent that APIs are copyrightable impact this common understanding. After all, it was commonly understood prior to that case that that copyright applies to implementations, not interfaces. Now that the court has established the opposite, does the same hold true for licensing? I don't know of any legal cases that have decided either way.

It looks like we need to get permission from 17 developers - all x11 binding contributors.

Contributors to DUB package nomad-software/x11

nomad-software
weltensturm
Geod24
MartinNowak
BBasile
rikkimax

Additionally, contributors to Deimos/libX11

growlercab
bioinfornatics
skilion
CyberShadow
Faianca
Flamaros
PhilipWitte
edmccard
arukuka
IanWizard
WalterBright

September 05
On Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 16:10:11 UTC, Gary Willoughby wrote:
> Hi,
>
> A few years ago I forked the Deimos X11 bindings[1] repo to add dub support. Since then my repo[2] has received bug fixes and as such it's being used in many projects. (Also, in the following years dub support was added to the Deimos repo too.) I had a question from a developer as to the license of the code in my repo. I used the LGPL because the original used it.
>
> My question, is there a legal way to change the current license to Boost or MIT or something like? Because this particular developer wanted to use it in a project where LGPL was incompatible.
>
> [1]: https://github.com/D-Programming-Deimos/libX11
> [2]: https://github.com/nomad-software/x11

+1 for getting away from the GPL.  Though I understand the sentiment coming from the FSF, the practical consequences of using GPL licenses is restricting the users of your library/application.  By going to a non-restrictive license like you suggest (Boost/MIT), it will allow the code to be used by anyone, instead of just those who conform to the GPL.

I'm assuming this is why you're trying to move to another license, I thought I would explicitly state this in the thread so as to educate others on the reasons why they may or may not want to use the GPL in their own projects.
September 05
On Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 16:32:47 UTC, Jonathan Marler wrote:
> On Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 16:10:11 UTC, Gary Willoughby wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> A few years ago I forked the Deimos X11 bindings[1] repo to add dub support. Since then my repo[2] has received bug fixes and as such it's being used in many projects. (Also, in the following years dub support was added to the Deimos repo too.) I had a question from a developer as to the license of the code in my repo. I used the LGPL because the original used it.
>>
>> My question, is there a legal way to change the current license to Boost or MIT or something like? Because this particular developer wanted to use it in a project where LGPL was incompatible.
>>
>> [1]: https://github.com/D-Programming-Deimos/libX11
>> [2]: https://github.com/nomad-software/x11
>
> +1 for getting away from the GPL.  Though I understand the sentiment coming from the FSF, the practical consequences of using GPL licenses is restricting the users of your library/application.  By going to a non-restrictive license like you suggest (Boost/MIT), it will allow the code to be used by anyone, instead of just those who conform to the GPL.
>
> I'm assuming this is why you're trying to move to another license, I thought I would explicitly state this in the thread so as to educate others on the reasons why they may or may not want to use the GPL in their own projects.

But LGPL and GPL are very different licenses. Also, while I don't have time to participate in yet another debate on the topic, the GPL does not in any way restrict users. Using GPL code means you promise *not* to impose restrictions. Feel free to use whatever license you want, but please do not make inaccurate claims about them.
September 05
On Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 18:12:23 UTC, bachmeier wrote:
>
> But LGPL and GPL are very different licenses. Also, while I don't have time to participate in yet another debate on the topic, the GPL does not in any way restrict users. Using GPL code means you promise *not* to impose restrictions. Feel free to use whatever license you want, but please do not make inaccurate claims about them.

I suppose it depends on how you define user. Someone who simply uses GPL code without distributing it would not face restrictions. However, if you use GPL code in a project and want to distribute it, then you also have to license that project as GPL.
September 05
On Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 18:23:00 UTC, jmh530 wrote:
> However, if you use GPL code in a project and want to distribute it, then you also have to license that project as GPL.

Which just means your users also promise not to put restrictions on their users.

It is like the 13th amendment in the US constitution.
September 05
On 9/4/2017 10:54 AM, Vadim Lopatin wrote:
>> That said, I don't know if the Oracle v. Google case and its precedent that APIs are copyrightable impact this common understanding. After all, it was commonly understood prior to that case that that copyright applies to implementations, not interfaces. Now that the court has established the opposite, does the same hold true for licensing? I don't know of any legal cases that have decided either way.

If APIs do not have copyright protections, then licensing rules do not apply.

> It looks like we need to get permission from 17 developers - all x11 binding contributors.
> 
> Additionally, contributors to Deimos/libX11
> 
> [...]
> WalterBright

Of course I grant mine.

September 05
On Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 18:12:23 UTC, bachmeier wrote:
> ...the GPL does not in any way restrict users. Using GPL code means you promise *not* to impose restrictions...

Reading things like this is much more humorous when you have a solid background in logic and contradiction.  As for you bachmeier, I hope you don't sprain your neck trying to find all the things that must go right over your head.
September 05
On Tuesday, September 05, 2017 18:23:00 jmh530 via Digitalmars-d wrote:
> On Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 18:12:23 UTC, bachmeier wrote:
> > But LGPL and GPL are very different licenses. Also, while I don't have time to participate in yet another debate on the topic, the GPL does not in any way restrict users. Using GPL code means you promise *not* to impose restrictions. Feel free to use whatever license you want, but please do not make inaccurate claims about them.
>
> I suppose it depends on how you define user. Someone who simply uses GPL code without distributing it would not face restrictions. However, if you use GPL code in a project and want to distribute it, then you also have to license that project as GPL.

The GPL ensures that code is always out in the open and available by restricting what the folks working on it can do with it and with any code that would get used with it. If you're using the GPL, you can't keep your code private. You're forced to make it and anything that you link to it available. The goal is to ensure that folks using any products built with that code have access to the code and can do what they want with it. It's taking freedom away from the developers while trying to ensure the freedom of those who use it. The LGPL is less restrictive in that it can be linked against code that isn't GPL or LGPL without forcing that code to be made available, but ultimately, the code that is LGPL still forces you to make any changes available and does not allow the developers the freedom to do what they want with it.

On the other hand, licenses like the BSD licenses or Boost try and ensure the freedom of the developers to do what they want with with the code. They can put it in proprietary products and muck with it however they like and don't have to provide any of their changes to anyone. At most, they have to admit to using the code by distributing the copyright with the binary (in the case of the BSD licenses anyway - Boost doesn't even require that). So, the developers have full freedom, but the users of the products have zero guarantee that they'll have access to any of that source code or the ability to change the code in the product.

Ultimately, it's about who you want to give freedom to, and how you want to restrict people. Neither group of licenses grants full freedom, because by giving freedom to one group, you take it away from the other.

If you go with a BSD or Boost license, you're maximizing who can use your software, but you have no guarantees that any improvements will be made available, whereas the (L)GPL does guarantee that those improvements will be made available (assuming that folks behave themselves and follow the license anyway), but that means that there are a lot of projects that can't use your software, because those restrictions are unacceptable to those developing it.

Personally, I think that the Boost or BSD-type licenses are ultimately better, but there's a good argument to be had that the (L)GPL has done a lot of good too. And ultimately, which is most appropriate for your software depends on what your goals are.

- Jonathan M Davis

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