[development] GPL policy: request for clarification

Nedjo Rogers nedjo at islandnet.com
Mon May 29 04:28:00 UTC 2006

The GPL appears to allow us to combine GPL and "compatible" code in a single 
GPL-licensed package. Can we include such code in drupal.org CVS?

This is a pressing issue because there is considerable interest in using 
external GPL-compatible but non-GPL Javascript libraries (Prototype, 
jQuery), at least in contrib and possibly as candidates for core.

Our CVS policy states "All code must be licensed under GNU/GPL" 
(contributions README.txt).

The practice has been to interpret this as meaning that open source 
libraries with "MIT" or similar licenses may not be included in Drupal CVS.

However, the Free Software Project has designated a number of licenses, 
including the "MIT" license, as "compatible" with the GPL, because they 
impose no restrictions that conflict with the GPL, see 
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses. The 
GPL FAQ specifically states, 
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhatDoesCompatMean, that the GPL 
permits you to "combine code released under the other [compatible] license 
with code released under the GNU GPL in one larger program" privided that 
"such a combination ... is released under the GNU GPL".

In other words, apparently, we can GPL the combination of GPL code and code 
with compatible licenses. So, it appears, we should be free to include "MIT" 
and other compatible-licensed code in our CVS and releases, provided we make 
it clear we are thus GPL-ing the combination.

So, can we go ahead and put such combinations in CVS?

Can we consider/propose them for core? 

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