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Re: What if Guile changed its license to be LGPL?

From: Marius Vollmer
Subject: Re: What if Guile changed its license to be LGPL?
Date: 06 Jun 2002 00:45:22 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2

Neil Jerram <address@hidden> writes:

> >>>>> "Marius" == Marius Vollmer <address@hidden> writes:
>     Marius> Guile currently has a license [...] If we would change the
>     Marius> license of Guile to be the Lesser GPL, would you stop
>     Marius> using it?
> I think this whole discussion is barking up the wrong tree.
> We had a similar problem before with readline -- and solved it -- and
> no doubt we will have similar problems in future with other packages
> whose licences may be subtly incompatible with Guile's.
> The solution is to arrange things so that it becomes a runtime problem
> rather than a distribution problem.

That is one solution, but not the only one.  It's also not the best
for all possible variations of the 'problem'.

Making it a compile-time problem would also work, i.e., fixing the
license of libguile at configure time, and I am now convinced that the
legal consequences are tolerable for people who want the weak license.

A compile-time configuration switch is mostly inferior to a run-time
switch, agreed.  But I would like to keep the possibility of deciding
between the two based on technical reasons, not on legal ones.  For
example, removing bignums from Guile but having the possibility to
re-add them at run-time via GOOPS would be elegant, but maybe it would
simply be too slow.

In my view, bignums are very essential to Guile, on par with proper
tail-call handling, say, and they deserve to be deeply integrated.
(They also deserve to be present even without GMP...)

Other issues have other parameters.  The readline library does not
need to be deeply integrated into Guile (IMO), and its license is GPL
instead of LGPL.  This changes enough, I think, to choose the run-time
switch option for libreadline.

Back to GMP, possible solution would also be to change the license of
GMP, or the license of Guile, so that the two would be equal.  This
thread was meant to explore the possibility of changing the license of
Guile, and at the same time produce arguments for changing the license
of GMP.

You say we shouldn't bother since we can 'just' make this a run-time
issue.  I think we should explore a license change anyway, and I also
think that shifting the problem to run-time (and thereby out of the
licenses' reach) would not be really satisfactory.

> In fact, "problem" is too negative.  I'd say this is an opportunity to
> get a number of things right:

That opportunity still exists, even if we find a different solution
for GMP. ;-)

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