[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.
bryan at cmsreport.com
Mon Sep 3 16:26:04 UTC 2007
Jeff Eaton wrote:
> On Sep 3, 2007, at 10:04 AM, Darren Oh wrote:
>> Based on the evidence presented in this discussion, it would not be
>> against either the spirit or the letter of the GPL for a developer to
>> distribute a module that integrates an existing third-party app that
>> does not use Drupal and to which the developer does not own the rights.
> This is exactly the opposite of what the FSF said when I asked them
> that question directly.
Hey folks, I'm not much of a developer but I'm a pretty good observer.
A few months ago Joomla! when through this very same issue, check out:
http://www.joomla.org/content/view/3510/1/ . I think a lot of time can
be wasted in a discussion in reinterpreting FSF's own interpretation of
what the GPL license says and doesn't say. I think for the sake of
discussion, it's best to assume Jeff's original post (
is correct, because I think most GPL projects are starting to
acknowledge they have a problem with bridges that connect GPL and
Joomla's response was to provide no exceptions or compromise to their
extensions (equivalent to Drupal's contributed modules). However, is
there not room for compromise with a combination of Jeff's first two
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.
2) Remove modules that integrate with third-party non-GPL code from
the CVS repository, even if they do not *include* the aforementioned
Could we not provide a notice to Drupal's license (yes a variant of the
GPL) that does allow an exception for contributed modules that bridge
GPL with non-GPL software? At the same time require modules included in
the Drupal core and supported at Drupal.org to remain fully GPL
compliant? Of course those contributed modules that are not complaint
to the GPL would need to be and could be hosted off-site elsewhere.
In some way it's sad that a strict GPL license that helps us keep "free
code" free prevents us from freely sharing the code we use to connect
with non-GPL software. The reality is such a variant in the GPL license
would reflect the "real world" realities that Laura Scott discussed in
an earlier post (
and really how Drupal's own open source culture has evolved.
I of course only presented a suggestion, as in the past months I have
yet to come up with real answers on my own (
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