Re: Should LGPL-3.0 be an exception rather than a main license?


Philippe Ombredanne
 

On Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 9:10 PM, J Lovejoy <opensource@...> wrote:
Hi All,

Let me sum this up, to make sure we are all on the same page.

LGPLv3 will be on the license list - there is no question there. The
question is, now that we have the exceptions listed on their own, should it
be there (http://spdx.org/licenses/preview/exceptions-index.html) or remain
as a "standalone" license on the main list
(http://spdx.org/licenses/preview/)

I don't think there is a "right" answer here... we can be consistent in how
other exceptions are represented or not (ostensibly due to external
considerations). As much as I do prefer consistency, we have already seen
before that trying to apply "rules" in a consistent manner to open source
licenses and how they are represented is almost impossible.

I believe that historically speaking, LGPLv3 was very intentionally drafted
this way with a goal of making it easier to apply and understand (given the
confusion over LGPLv2.1), which sort of cuts towards treating it as a true
exception (Alan's theory very interesting, though!)

So, let's take a look at the two option:

1) To be consistent, it would seem that LGPLv3 is an exception in the same
way as these other exceptions. This would mean it would be listed with the
exceptions and to represent LGPLv3 using the License Expression Syntax would
look like this:
GPL-3.0 WITH LGPL-3.0

(this feels a bit odd, but it would be accurate technically speaking...)
This would indeed be accurate but both odd and confusing.

Or,

2) We could simply leave LGPLv3 on the main license list (as if it was a
standalone license) and thus it would be represented as its standalone short
identifier:
LGPL-3.0

(This would be technically inconsistent with how the other exceptions are
represented, but results in an arguably more expected identification via the
short identifier.)
This is IMHO the only sane thing to do. Practically beast purity.

I don't know-- as much as I like consistency and accuracy (#1) - the
resultant license expression syntax of "GPL-3.0 WITH LGPL-3.0" feels... wrong.
I'd also be afraid that if we went that route it would be confusing, because
it's not what you'd expect and that the community would, well, freak out
(possibly justifiably). As to the latter concern, I just sent Bradley Kuhn
an email about this to gain his thoughts, since I have spoken to him a bit
about the efforts to improve our list of exceptions. Thus, #2 just "feels"
more appropriate.*sigh*

In the meantime, I'd be curious to hear thoughts what with the syntax
staring at you.
#2 aka LGPL-3.0 is the only thing that makes sense to me.

--
Cordially
Philippe Ombredanne

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