Re: Combined version of LGPL + GPL 3.0

Max Mehl

Hi Jilayne,

(Taking out -tech as per earlier request)

~ J Lovejoy [2021-07-28 16:36 +0200]:
Do I understand correctly that FSF still doesn't think of LGPL-3.0 as an
exception to GPL-3.0 (even though functionally and structurally it is)
and thus wants us all now to identify LGPL-3.0 as a conjunctive license
expression, using and?
Yes, that was a suggestion made by Matija in the discussion we've had.
It was turned down by FSF.

What is the implication of just LGPL-3.0 at this point, then? What
happens in terms of backward compatibility for everyone already using
that identifier?

I appreciate you looking into this, but it really would have helped to
be involved.
We didn't think this was so controversial to be honest.

Again, my point of view is that this improves the situation for users,
especially those of REUSE: so far, when adding the LGPL-3.0 license from
SPDX to their repo for LGPL-3.0 licensed code, the license text was
incomplete as it required the GPL-3.0 license to be present as well.
That's unintuitive and would have required special clauses in tooling
like REUSE.

Now, we have a concatenated version. The license effectively did not
change from my perspective, now it's just complete and intuitive. But

Please note that the official LGPL text by FSF has not been altered. The
concatenated version is an alternative format.

As had been discussed here before, LGPL more aptly belongs on the
exceptions list to be used with the WITH operator.
Again, full ack. But my understanding was that SPDX did not want to go
this route as the license steward (FSF) does not consider it an
exception but a separate license.

In any case, any change like this is not inconsequential for existing
users of SPDX and all scenarios need to be fully discussed (as we
learned last time we made a major change in our identifiers for the
FSF). Is this change initiated by REUSE or FSF?
I cannot speak for FSF, just REUSE and the FSFE, REUSE's coordinator.

REUSE obviously does not intent to change SPDX identifiers or cause
compliance issues. I, too, dislike the -only/-or-later special cases,
which is also why my motivation was to get rid of this special case that
two license texts for one license have to be shipped.

I am afraid that compliance issues have been caused *before* this change
as the downloaded LGPL-3.0 license was not complete.


Max Mehl - Programme Manager - Free Software Foundation Europe
Contact and information: | @mxmehl
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