Re: Combined version of LGPL + GPL 3.0

Sebastian Crane

Dear Jilayne,

Things have been moving really quickly on this, so I think I ought to
give some background! I believe this to be a complete summary, though of
course I don't know of the content of the Max's correspondence with the
Free Software Foundation.

Last Saturday I was looking through the list of issues on the REUSE tool
repository and noticed The
issue described is that the LGPL requires the full GPL text to be
present for proper compliance, but REUSE does not allow unused license
texts to be included in a given repository.

It occurred to me that this could be resolved in the SPDX License List
instead of in REUSE - the entire GPL-3.0 could be added in an optional
section below the LGPL-3.0. This would mean that:

- No SPDX License IDs would change. LGPL-3.0-or-later and LGPL-3.0-only
would still refer to a standalone license, and users would not need to
use the 'AND' syntax in SPDX documents or license expressions.

- Users of REUSE would simply need to download LGPL-3.0 via the REUSE
tool. The tool fetches the SPDX License List's text, including with
the optional sections. As a result, no further action would be needed
to comply with the LGPL's condition that the GPL be included.

- License scanning tools following the SPDX License Matching Guidelines
would not be affected: as the entire GPL section is surrounded by
<optional> tags, existing occurrences of the LGPL text would still be
matched as LGPL, as has been the case thus far.

I took the time to review the previous discussions about the LGPL in the
past, both on SPDX's and REUSE's mailing list archives and GitHub
repositories. Nothing similar to had been brought up before, as far as I
can tell. Hence, I posted my idea in the reuse-tool GitHub issue and
waited - not for long as it turned out!

Earlier this week, both Max and Matija agreed on that issue that it
would be a good solution, and Max contacted the FSF about it.

Fast-forward to today, and I was just about to write to you and Steve
Winslow to ask for this to be put on the agenda for the next Legal Team
meeting. At that point I saw Max's note that the FSF had already
released the combined text! Apologies if this caught you by surprise,
Jilyane; the FSF's speedy publication certainly did for me! All my
correspondence with Max is publicly visible on the aforementioned
GitHub issue.

Sorry for the somewhat long post - hopefully I've been able to describe
how this idea satisfies the REUSE requirement, whilst addressing the
concerns about backwards compatibility for those using the existing
identifiers, both for license matching and for licensing their own

If you or anyone else has any futher questions I'm more than happy to
answer them here :)

Best wishes,


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