[development] MIT licensed widgets in d.o GPL repo?

Thomas Barregren thomas at webbredaktoren.se
Fri Oct 20 09:02:18 UTC 2006

Gerhard Killesreiter skrev:
> Chris Johnson wrote:
>> I believe that the policy on anything in the drupal.org repository is 
>> that it must be GPL licensed.  Even something with a more liberal 
>> license, such as an MIT-licensed widget, would not be allowed.
>> Is that correct?
> Yes.
> And then no again. If you, as a contributor, re-release the MIT 
> licensed stuff under GPL you can commit it. I believe that such a 
> re-release is possible with certain MIT type licenses.
> If you choose this route, you shoudl probably document it rather well.
> In general, we'd prefer you'd not do it, I guess.

 From a license point of view, there is no problem to sublicense MIT 
licensed software under GPL. As I said in an answer to Chris Johnson, 
GPL and MIT are compatible, which means that it is not a violation of 
GPL to use MIT source code or vice versa.

 From a policy point of view, the situation is a little bit more unclear 
to me.When you apply for a CVS account, you must certify to "only commit 
code that is licensed under terms of the GNU public license." The MIT 
licensed code you commit isn't under GPL, so this could be an offence 
against your own certification. But as soon as the code is commited, you 
have created a "derivative work" which is under GPL; and hence the 
possible offence is removed. Since GPL is about protecting your freedom, 
and since GPL is compatible with the MIT license, I suppose it is okay 
to check in MIT licensed and other GPL compatible code. IMHO it should 
at least be so.

I suggest that Drupal.org has a clear policy document stating that it is 
allowed to check in any code that can be distributed under GPL. That 
would take away much of the unclear points. I also urge every developer 
to read Lawrence Rosen's "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and 
Intellectual Property Law", and possible also Andrew M. St. Laurent's 
"Understanding Open Source & Free Software Licensing". The books can be 
found on-line here:

    * http://www.rosenlaw.com/oslbook.htm
    * http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/osfreesoft/book/


More information about the development mailing list