2012.10.02

Why GPL will kill GPL, and maybe open source...

Guillaume Rousseau

Over the last few weeks, I have reviewed many of the main resources regarding open source license compliance, which are quite complex. To help ease the elaborate nature of the material I created a license approval table that outlines the compliance of specific licenses.

The process of generating the table included the use of a "standardized" name and acronym for each license, while adopting the SPDX acronym. Afterward, I analyzed the various references to determine whether the licenses are compliant for distribution within software that utilizes the following license types: Apache, GNU GPL (2 or 3), Eclipse, or Proprietary.

Basic Comments

  • Some licenses in the references where not listed in SPDX 1.16, lot of work stil have to be done.
  • SPDX is a great initiative, and more people should look at it, and get invovled.
  • Even if resources provided by the FSF and Fedora project are useful, compliance with or even within the GNU licenses is a nightmare compared to other alternatives.
  • Software development is integrating more and more components, and it will be increasingly harder to provide clean software bill-of-materials including components distirbuted under one of the GNU licenses.

Topics for Discussion

  • Can we make the assumption that GNU license prominence will continue to decline?
  • Shall GNU licenses be limited to specific situations (end-user applications competing for properitary software; software based on a key technological asset, like Linux; dual licensing model)?
  • GNU GPL's non-compliance with mainstream licenses (i.e. Apache and Eclipse), along with its difficulties addressing license compliance within the GNU licenses themself, may lead to separate ecosystems, and thereby minimizing the situation so that GPL is the correct license choice.
  • Communities that use licenses, which comply with other licenses, can grow faster if they are leveraging merge/reuse/interoperability with other communities.
  • Can we imagine that the open source ecosystem will no longer need copyleft licensing in the near future to be sustainable?

Note: The follow-up to this blog is "GPL is dead. Long Live the GPLs"

Table Legend

  • Yes/Authorized : Source code and components can be merged/linked with software distributed under license defined at the top of the column
  • Sometime : Refers to the situation where compliance is possible but requires special conditions.
  • No/Excluded : Source Code and components cannot be merged/linked.
  • Unknown : This compliance is not addressed by one of the references, it's unclear regarding which license is involved, or it needs further investigation.
  • (Family) : Refers to more than one license. "Sometimes" or "Unknown" means that situation is not clear unless checking for specific situation.

 

Approved Compliance Scheme
License Name Acronym
(1)
OSI
(2)
FSF
(3)
Apache 3rd
Party (4)
GPL-2.0
(3) (7)
GPL-3.0
(3) (7)
EPL
(5) (6)
Proprietary
Attribution Assurance License AAL YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Academic Free License v1.1 AFL-1.1 YES YES unknown No No unknown Yes
Academic Free License v1.2 AFL-1.2 YES YES unknown No No unknown Yes
Academic Free License v2.0 AFL-2.0 YES YES unknown No No unknown Yes
Academic Free License v2.1 AFL-2.1 YES YES unknown No No unknown Yes
Academic Free License v3.0 AFL-3.0 YES YES unknown No No unknown Yes
GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 AGPL-3.0 YES YES unknown No Sometimes unknown No
ANTLR Software Rights Notice ANTLR-PD

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Apache License 1.0 Apache-1.0 Authorized No No unkown Yes
Apache License 1.1 Apache-1.1 YES
Authorized No No Yes Yes
Apache License 2.0 Apache-2.0 YES
Authorized No Yes (8)
Yes Yes
Adaptive Public License 1.0 APL-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Apple Public Source License 1.0 APSL-1.0
NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Apple Public Source License 1.1 APSL-1.1
NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Apple Public Source License 1.2 APSL-1.2 YES NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Apple Public Source License 2.0 APSL-2.0 YES YES unknown No unknown unknown unknown
Artistic License 1.0 Artistic-1.0 YES NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Artistic License 2.0 Artistic-2.0 YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
BSD 2-clause "Simplified" License BSD-2-Clause YES YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 2-clause "FreeBSD" License BSD-2-Clause-FreeBSD
YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 2-clause "NetBSD" License BSD-2-Clause-NetBSD
YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 3-clause "New" or "Revised" License BSD-3-Clause YES YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
BSD 4-clause "Original" or "Old" License BSD-4-Clause
YES Authorized No No unknown Yes
BSD-4-Clause (University of California-Specific) BSD-4-Clause-UC
YES Authorized No No unknown Yes
Boost Software License 1.0 BSL-1.0 YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Computer Associates Trusted Open Source License 1.1 CATOSL-1.1 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 CC-BY-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 CC-BY-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 CC-BY-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 CC-BY-3.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 1.0 CC-BY-NC-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 CC-BY-NC-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 2.5 CC-BY-NC-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 CC-BY-NC-3.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 1.0 CC-BY-NC-ND-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 2.0 CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 2.5 CC-BY-NC-ND-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 1.0 CC-BY-NC-SA-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.0 CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 2.5 CC-BY-NC-SA-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 CC-BY-NC-SA-3.0

unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 1.0 CC-BY-ND-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 CC-BY-ND-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.5 CC-BY-ND-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 3.0 CC-BY-ND-3.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 1.0 CC-BY-SA-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 CC-BY-SA-2.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5 CC-BY-SA-2.5 unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 CC-BY-SA-3.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal CC0-1.0 YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Common Development and Distribution License 1.0 CDDL-1.0 YES YES Sometimes No No Yes Sometimes
Common Development and Distribution License 1.1 CDDL-1.1

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
CeCILL Free Software License Agreement v1.0 CECILL-1.0

unknown unknown unknown unknown No
CeCILL Free Software License Agreement v1.1 CECILL-1.1
YES unknown Yes Yes unknown No
CeCILL Free Software License Agreement v2.0 CECILL-2.0
YES unknown Yes Yes unknown No
CeCILL-B Free Software License Agreement CECILL-B
YES unknown No No unknown Yes
CeCILL-C Free Software License Agreement CECILL-C
YES unknown No No unknown Sometimes
Clarified Artistic License ClArtistic unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
CNRI Python License CNRI-Python YES unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
CNRI Python Open Source GPL Compatible License Agreement CNRI-Python-GPL-Compatible unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Common Public Attribution License 1.0 CPAL-1.0 YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Common Public License 1.0 CPL-1.0 YES YES Reciprocal No No Yes Sometimes
CUA Office Public License v1.0 CUA-OPL-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Educational Community License v1.0 ECL-1.0 YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Educational Community License v2.0 ECL-2.0 YES YES unknown No Yes unknown unknown
eCos license version 2.0 eCos-2.0
YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Eiffel Forum License v1.0 EFL-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Eiffel Forum License v2.0 EFL-2.0 YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Entessa Public License v1.0 Entessa YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Eclipse Public License 1.0 EPL-1.0 YES YES Reciprocal No No unknown Sometimes
Erlang Public License v1.1 ErlPL-1.1 YES unknown No No unknown unknown
EU DataGrid Software License EUDatagrid YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
European Union Public License 1.0 EUPL-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
European Union Public License 1.1 EUPL-1.1 YES YES unknown Yes No unknown unknown
Fair License Fair YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Frameworx Open License 1.0 Frameworx-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
GNU Free Documentation License v1.1 GFDL-1.1
YES unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
GNU Free Documentation License v1.2 GFDL-1.2
YES unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
GNU Free Documentation License v1.3 GFDL-1.3
YES unknown unknown unknown Yes unknown
GNU General Public License v1.0 only GPL-1.0
YES Excluded No No unknown No
GNU General Public License v1.0 or later GPL-1.0+
YES Excluded Yes Yes unknown No
GNU General Public License v2.0 only GPL-2.0 YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 w/Autoconf exception GPL-2.0-with-autoconf-exception YES YES Excluded unknown unknown No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 w/Bison exception GPL-2.0-with-bison-exception YES YES Excluded unknown unknown No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 w/Classpath exception GPL-2.0-with-classpath-exception YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 w/Font exception GPL-2.0-with-font-exception YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 w/GCC Runtime Library exception GPL-2.0-with-GCC-exception YES YES Excluded unknown unknown No No
GNU General Public License v2.0 or later GPL-2.0+ YES YES Excluded Yes Sometimes No No
GNU General Public License v3.0 only GPL-3.0 YES YES Excluded Sometimes Yes unknown No
GNU General Public License v3.0 w/Autoconf exception GPL-3.0-with-autoconf-exception YES YES Excluded Sometimes Yes unknown No
GNU General Public License v3.0 w/GCC Runtime Library exception GPL-3.0-with-GCC-exception YES YES Excluded Sometimes Yes unknown No
GNU General Public License v3.0 or later GPL-3.0+ YES YES Excluded Sometimes Yes unknown No
gSOAP Public License v1.3b gSOAP-1.3b unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Historic Permission Notice and Disclaimer HPND YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
IPA Font License IPA YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
IBM Public License v1.0 IPL-1.0 YES YES Reciprocal No No Yes Sometimes
ISC License ISC YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
GNU Library General Public License v2 only LGPL-2.0
YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU Library General Public License v2 or later LGPL-2.0+
YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1 only LGPL-2.1 YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1 or later LGPL-2.1+ YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 only LGPL-3.0 YES YES Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 or later LGPL-3.0+ YES YES Excluded No No No Sometimes
libpng License Libpng Authorized unknown unknown unknown Yes
Lucent Public License Version 1.0 (Plan9) LPL-1.0 YES YES unknown No unknown unknown unknown
Lucent Public License v1.02 LPL-1.02 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
LaTeX Project Public License v1.0 LPPL-1.0

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
LaTeX Project Public License v1.1 LPPL-1.1

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
LaTeX Project Public License v1.2 LPPL-1.2

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
LaTeX Project Public License v1.3c LPPL-1.3c YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
MirOS Licence MirOS YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
MIT License MIT YES YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
Motosoto License Motosoto YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Mozilla Public License 1.0 MPL-1.0 YES YES Reciprocal No No unknown Sometimes
Mozilla Public License 1.1 MPL-1.1 YES YES Reciprocal No No Yes Sometimes
Mozilla Public License 2.0 MPL-2.0 YES YES unknown Sometimes Sometimes unknown Sometimes
Mozilla Public License 2.0 MPL-2.0-no-copyleft-exception YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
Microsoft Public License MS-PL YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Microsoft Reciprocal License MS-RL YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Multics License Multics YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown  unknown
NASA Open Source Agreement 1.3 NASA-1.3 YES NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Naumen Public License Naumen YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License NCSA YES YES Authorized Yes Yes unkown Yes
Nethack General Public License NGPL YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Nokia Open Source License Nokia YES YES unknown No unknown unknown unknown
Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0 NPOSL-3.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
NTP License NTP YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
OCLC Research Public License 2.0 OCLC-2.0 YES NO unknown No No unknown unknown
ODC Open Database License v1.0 ODbL-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
SIL Open Font License 1.0 OFL-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
SIL Open Font License 1.1 OFL-1.1 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Open Group Test Suite License OGTSL YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unkown
OpenLDAP Public License v2.8 OLDAP-2.8 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
OpenSSL License OpenSSL
YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Open Software License 1.0 OSL-1.0 YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Open Software License 2.0 OSL-2.0 YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Open Software License 2.1 OSL-2.1 YES YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Open Software License 3.0 OSL-3.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
ODC Public Domain Dedication & License 1.0 PDDL-1.0 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
PHP License v3.0 PHP-3.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
PHP LIcense v3.01 PHP-3.01

unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
PostgreSQL License PostgreSQL YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Python License 2.0 Python-2.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Q Public License 1.0 QPL-1.0 YES YES Excluded No No unknown unknown
Red Hat eCos Public License v1.1 RHeCos-1.1 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Reciprocal Public License 1.5 RPL-1.5 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
RealNetworks Public Source License v1.0 RPSL-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Ricoh Source Code Public License RSCPL YES NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Ruby License Ruby YES unknown No unknown unknown unknown
Sax Public Domain Notice SAX-PD unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Simple Public License 2.0 SimPL-2.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Sleepycat License Sleepycat YES YES Excluded Yes Yes unknown No
Sun Public License v1.0 SPL-1.0 YES YES Reciprocal Yes unknown unknown Sometimes
SugarCRM Public License v1.1.3 SugarCRM-1.1.3 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Vovida Software License v1.0 VSL-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
W3C Software and Notice License W3C YES YES Authorized Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sybase Open Watcom Public License 1.0 Watcom-1.0 YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
wxWindows Library License WXwindows YES
unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
XFree86 License 1.1 XFree86-1.1 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
X.Net License Xnet YES
Authorized unknown unknown unknown Yes
Yahoo! Public License v1.0 YPL-1.0 NO unknown No No unknown unknown
Yahoo! Public License v1.1 YPL-1.1 unknown unknown unknown unknown unknown
Zimbra Public License v1.3 Zimbra-1.3 NO unknown No No unknown unknown
zlib License Zlib YES YES Authorized Yes Yes unkown Yes
Zope Public License 1.1 ZPL-1.1 YES unknown No No unknown unknown
Zope Public License 2.0 ZPL-2.0 YES YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
Zope Public License 2.1 ZPL-2.1 YES unknown Yes Yes unknown unknown
The Perl 5 License (Artistic 1 & GPL 1) Perl-5 YES unknown Yes Yes unknown No
Artistic License (Family)
Artisitic unknown unknown unknown unknown No
Mozilla Public License (Family) MPL unknown unknown unknown unknown Sometimes
GNU Library or Lesser General Public License (Family) LGPL Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No Sometimes
GNU General Public License (Family) GPL Excluded Sometimes Sometimes No No
Creative Commons Attribution CC unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
BSD License (Family) BSD unkown Sometimes (9)
Sometimes (9)
Yes Yes
Academic Free License (Family) AFL unknown unknown unknown unknown Yes
Commercial License (Family) Commercial unknown No No No unknown
Sun Binary Code License Agreement (Family) Sun-Binary unknown unknown unknown No unknown
Apache License (Family) Apache Authorized No No Sometimes Yes

 

Please, feel free to provide your feedback, or identify any incorrect information.

Note: The follow up to this blog is "GPL is dead. Long Live the GPLs"

Ressources:

(1) Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) specification

(2) List of approved licenses via the Open Source Initiative (OSI) Review Process

(3) List of the various approved software licenses according to the Free Software Foundation

(4) Apache Software Foundation, 3rd party licensing policy

(5) "Are the Eclipse Public License (EPL) and the General Public License (GPL) compatible?" according to the Eclipse Foundation F.A.Q

(6) Eclipse Foundation Legal Process Poster

(7) Fedora licensing page

(8)  http://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html   http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/gpl-non-gpl-collaboration.html

(9) It depends on which BSD License you are considering. BSD-4-Clause and BSD-4-Clause-UC do not comply

Disclaimer : The materials and information provided are not intended or offered as legal advice. They are provided for general information purposes only.

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