Using LGPLv3+ license for libgnutls?

Simon Josefsson simon at
Wed Sep 10 10:37:09 CEST 2008

I understand, although RMS asked if there were any _concrete_ reasons to
not go with LGPLv3+ now, as opposed to just preferences.  The only
concrete reason I've seen so far is a list of GPLv2 only projects.  If
you think GnuTLS should remain licensed under LGPLv2.1+, finding more
GPLv2-only projects that use GnuTLS is useful.  Reviewing these projects
and finding out how difficult it would be to make them GPLv2+ instead
would also provide more facts.


Alvaro Lopez Ortega <alvaro at> writes:

> Hello Simon,
> Relicensing GnuTLS under LGPLv3 could be a problem for some other Free
> Software projects, actually. As you have pointed, it would not be
> legal for GPLv2 software to link against a LGPLv3 library, and that
> would turn to be a major problem for those projects and, at the end of
> the day, a handicap for GnuTLS.
> If I looked after GnuTLS' wellbeing, I'd personally stick with the
> current license.  It is a perfectly fine Free Software license that
> wouldn't decrease GnuTLS' potential target audience.
> Besides, it would be definitely much more friendly with the Free
> Software developers who either don't follow the GPLv3 way or they are
> not ready yet to do so.
> Simon Josefsson wrote:
>> The license compatibility matrix is useful, see:
>> The problem is for GPLv2-only projects that wants to use a LGPLv3
>> library.
>> Using LGPLv3+ also has consequences for projects that wants to copy code
>> from GnuTLS (they need to be GPLv3+ or LGPLv3+), but that is not
>> something that happens widely enough to care about as far as I am aware.
>> If anyone knows of significant code re-use from gnutls, let me know.
>> /Simon
>> "David Marín Carreño" <davefx at> writes:
>>> But I don't catch what is the problem: a proprietary licensed product
>>> can be dinamically linked to a LGPL3 library. And, as far as I know
>>> (and, please, correct me if I am wrong, as I am not a lawyer), a GPL2
>>> product can still be dinamically (or even statically) linked with a
>>> LGPL3 library.
>>> We are not talking about GPLv3. It's LGPLv3.
>>> Perhaps, the problem would be the GPL'd parts of gnutls...
>>> -- 
>>> David Marín Carreño
>>> 2008/9/9 Joe Orton <joe at>:
>>>> On Tue, Sep 09, 2008 at 01:46:17PM -0400, Daniel Kahn Gillmor wrote:
>>>>> On Tue 2008-09-09 12:01:23 -0400, Simon Josefsson wrote:
>>>>>> I tried to do some systematic searches, but the debian copyright
>>>>>> information tends to be incorrect (not mentioning versions) or difficult
>>>>>> to parse.
>>>>> This is sadly true.  Automatic resolution of this sort of question
>>>>> would be much easier if the machine-readable debian/copyright proposal
>>>>> was more widely-adopted:
>>>> We have such a standard agreed at Fedora but the hard work is really in
>>>> auditing N thousand packages to meet it.
>>>>>> I recognize cups, snort and ekg, and they are fairly well known.
>>>>> fwiw, gobby seems to be GPL-2+, not GPL-2, at least according to the
>>>>> debian copyright info, so it's possilbe that the fedora tags are wrong
>>>>> on that package:
>>>> I agree, good catch, thanks; I've filed a bug to get this fixed in
>>>> Fedora.
>>>>> And cups appears to be ambiguous as far as the GPL'ed bits (though the
>>>>> LGPL'ed bits are pretty clearly V2-only):
>>>>> [0 dkg at squeak ~]$ grep -A6 ^INTRODUCTION /usr/share/doc/cups-common/copyright
>>>>> The Common UNIX Printing System(tm), ("CUPS(tm)"), is provided
>>>>> under the GNU General Public License ("GPL") and GNU Library
>>>>> General Public License ("LGPL"), Version 2, with exceptions for
>>>>> Apple operating systems and the OpenSSL toolkit. A copy of the
>>>>> exceptions and licenses follow this introduction.
>>>> Following the guidance at I
>>>> would say that since the code is explicit about being licensed per the
>>>> terms in LICENSE.txt, "GPLv2 only" is a reasonable interpretation.
>>>> If anybody thinks this is important to clarify I can chase it with the
>>>> Fedora licensing guys.
>>>> Regards, Joe
> -- 
> Greetings, alo

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