[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.

Thomas Barregren thomas at webbredaktoren.se
Fri Aug 31 07:42:21 UTC 2007

David Strauss skrev:
> Jeff Eaton wrote:
>> 1) Add a notice to Drupal's license that clarifies that writing such
>> modules IS explicitly allowed. This is problematic, however, because
>> that would make Drupal non-GPL'd itself, a GPL variant, and we would
>> require explicit relicensing permission by the authors of any GPL code
>> we wish to include.
> Direct GPL variants are only allowed with approval of the FSF.

Wrong. You are allowed to add ny terms and condition you which as long 
as long as you don't impose any further restrictions on the recipients' 
exercise of the rights granted in GPL. See paragraph 6 of GPL v2 (which 
is used by Drupal). In fact, FSF/GNU tells you to add such notice to 
allow use of non-GPL libraryies. Read the FAQ:

  * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLModuleLicense
  * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs
  * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#LinkingOverControlledInterface

MySQL is an example of this:

  * http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/licensing/foss-exception.html

In fact, if MySQL didn't add that notice, Drupal had not been able to 
use MySQL, since the PHP licence isn't compatible with GPL v2.

>> 2) Remove modules that integrate with third-party non-GPL code from the
>> CVS repository, even if they do not *include* the aforementioned non-GPL
>> code.
> I'm not sure that's a problem. The GPL only affects redistribution, not
> what a person does on his or her own computer. Just ensure the forbidden
> integration isn't distributed. (If I'm wrong here, I'd like to know.)

Wrong. If a module depends on a software with a license not compatible 
with GPL, then that module can't be distributed under GPL.

Read the FAQ:

  * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins
  * http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MoneyGuzzlerInc

>> 3) Continue on as we are, and don't try to police these issues as there
>> are NOT likely to be any real complaints. (No one that I know of is
>> trying to SELL modules that integrate with non-GPL resources, for example.)
> As long as Drupal core is GPL-clean, I think this is acceptable. I don't
> think anyone but a lawyer would be qualified to do the policing, anyway

Isn't that to live by double standard? Why is it okay to violate the GPL 
when it comes to modules, but not when it comes to the core itself?

The solution, IMHO, is to add a FLOSS exception to Drupal.


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