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Re: Does using automake+autoconf require my project to be GPL'ed?

From: Alan Manuel Gloria
Subject: Re: Does using automake+autoconf require my project to be GPL'ed?
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 06:51:27 +0800

On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 2:58 AM, Ralf Wildenhues <address@hidden> wrote:
>> From what I could glean, it's not necessary, provided I write my own
>> "".  The other files auto-produced by `automake --foreign
>> --add-missing' seem to have a clause saying something about distributing
>> them under a different license.
> The `missing' script should do so, too.  The current git Automake
> version of this script contains this:
>  # As a special exception to the GNU General Public License, if you
>  # distribute this file as part of a program that contains a
>  # configuration script generated by Autoconf, you may include it under
>  # the same distribution terms that you use for the rest of that program.
> This statement has been added in 2001 already, and all of the `missing'
> scripts from GNU Automake since then have it.

Well, it seems that the version on one of the computers I was
experimenting on was before that, because the `missing' script didn't
have that exception (I did see that exception on the `depcomp' script,
and `install-sh' seems to be under an X11/MIT-based license).  The
version on my actual work computer indeed has that exception.

>> I'd just like confirmation, because I've tried searching "automake license",
>> "autoconf license", "autoconf permissive license" etc. and can't find a
>> definitive "You must absolutely use GPL for your package" or "You can use
>> any license for your package" or "You can use any GPL-compatible license for
>> your package".
> We are in the process of moving to GPLv3+ plus exceptions.  The
> lawyerese process for rewriting the exception specification is not fully
> done yet, which is why Autoconf 1.10 has been released with GPLv2+ plus
> exception.  But the intent is that distributing packages that are built
> through normal use of autotools is not limited (you could even use a
> proprietary license).
> Of course, as always with legal advice, I have to add that I am not a
> lawyer, nor is there likely to be one on this list who will and can give
> you binding advice; so if that's what you're looking for, then you need
> to ask one.

I just needed reassurance, since I would have thought that Google
could have provided even a passing reference, but couldn't find any.

Thanks everyone!


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