Forum OpenACS Development: GPL vs. BSD licenses

10: GPL vs. BSD licenses (response to 7)
Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
A BSD license doesn't effect OpenACS in the slightest, as BSD is fully GPL compatible. However, (my non-lawyer's understanding is that) as soon as someone starts contributing GPL code to a BSD codebase, that project effectively becomes GPL immediately. This is the viral nature of the GPL at work. (You could always rip out all suspected-GPL code, or just plain revert to the original BSD code, but as more contributions and improvements come in, that gets pretty unpleasant pretty fast...)

So, allowing code under non-GPL Open Source licenses into the OpenACS CVS repository is not a problem at all for OpenACS, but it might well be considered a problem by Gustaf or others who have written effectively independent packages or applications and published them under a BSD license. If a package really is independent (rather than a "derivative work" of the GPL'd OpenACS), and its author wants it to remain under a BSD license, then minimally, if I were the author, I'd include some license text in the code making that very very clear. Note that the AOLserver codebase has prominent notices top about the AOLserver license at the top of every major source file, etc.