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

Thomas Barregren thomas at webbredaktoren.se
Fri Oct 20 09:22:20 UTC 2006

Gerhard Killesreiter skrev:
> Thomas Barregren wrote:
>> 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.
> I didn't say there would be a problem.

It wasn't my intention to imply that you did. :-)

>>  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.

On thinking it over, I realize that the derivative work come into 
existence as soon as you used it in your own module or template, and 
thus, because of the copyleft mechanism of GPL, it is already entirety 
under GPL when you commit it. Therefore it is not a offence against your 
own certification to check in a module or theme with parts that 
originally aren't under GPL, as long as those parts are under a license 
that is compatible with GPL.

>> 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.
> That is what I was trying to say. However, I called to document this. 
> E.g. you should put something in a README file that tells people that 
> the code was originally under MIT license and you (the contributor) 
> re-license it under the GPL.

That is a good idea, in particular since the MIT license must be 
included according to its terms.

>> 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. 
> Another important guideline other than "no non-GPL code" in CVS is "no 
> third party code" in CVS. So if you find some code somewhere (say a 
> JavaScript library) that is MIT licensed and you want to use it with 
> your module the proper procedure would be to point out in the README 
> that people have to go download said library there and there.

Yes and no. The developer within me agrees to 100%. But the "customer" 
within me would prefer to have it all put together in a single tar ball. 
But let us not blur the discussion about GPL/MIT with this off-topic 
discussion. :-)

Best regards,

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