[fpc-devel] LGPL vs BSD

Marco van de Voort marcov at stack.nl
Fri Aug 4 14:38:23 CEST 2006

> On 4 aug 2006, at 13:11, Marco van de Voort wrote:
> > For the libraries, the situation is pretty much the same (modified  
> > LGPL and
> > BSD don't differ THAT much in practice.
> Apart from the fact that improvements to LGPL libraries have to be  
> distributed also in source form, while that's not the case for the  
> BSD license.

I didn't say LGPL, I said modified LGPL, by which I meant ours. And that says

"If you modify this library, you may extend this exception to your version of
the library, but you are not obligated to do so".

So with modified LGPL I can get out of source publishing too, at least that
is how I intepret the license text.

> Or do you mean that in practice, most users of BSD  
> libraries also publish the changes?

I think, the ones that would with LGPL generally will anyway. I think some
significant percentage of the others will also, or at least provide some
form of feedback or something else that benefits the creators. Some will of
course not do anything.

So the point is that under some, not so rare, circumstances usage, feedback and
contributions can be higher under BSD yes (the ones that would under LGPL +
a % of the others that wouldn't touch under LGPL). Which is logical, less
inhibitions, more people using it, and for merging stuff back into main
distribution, questions etc, you still need contact with the creators. You
can simply refuse support to sb who clearly maintains his own trees.

You more or less said this yourself in the description of the OS X
situation. It is easier to contribute back and use stock versions, than to
maintain your own. Forking is very costly, and most OSS projects don't have
it in them to be a long time moneymaker. They are more infrastructural.

And there is a certain chance that the people that don't contribute back
now, will contribute back later when the "business case" is gone, and they
want to merge with the main distro to keep maintenance down.

Note that I don't say we should do this, or anybody should do this. I just
want to make _very_ clear that there are downsides to LGPL/GPL too. The case
I picture above particularly applies when dealing with small companies. They
are often very careful in the beginning, but when they work with you for a
year, they often get more cooperative. The idea is that with BSD you get as
many people on board, and later you harvest.

More information about the fpc-devel mailing list