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

David Strauss david at fourkitchens.com
Fri Aug 31 16:40:16 UTC 2007

Thomas Barregren wrote:
> 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:

The license itself says, "Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute
verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not
allowed." Paragraph 6 says nothing about producing a modified version of
the GPL. MySQL's exception is rendered as a separate exception document,
not a modification of the GPL. This distinction is important because
people redistributing the code aren't obligated to allow the exceptions
granted by the original licensor.

So, I stand by my statement that, "Direct GPL variants are only allowed
with approval of the FSF." See the AGPL for an example of an approved

>> 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.

If you're going to call someone "wrong," you had better be right:


That FAQ item gives instructions for releasing something under the GPL
that links to non-free libraries.

I said, "The GPL only affects redistribution" because the original
distributor has the right to include any exceptions in a supplement to
the license. Re-distributors cannot add such an exception. However, I
also said, "Just ensure the forbidden integration isn't distributed"
because even the owner of the GPL software doesn't have the right to
redistribute software without permission.

>> 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?

I didn't say it was OK. I said it wasn't worth policing contributed modules.

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