Re: License text for LGPL-3.0

Max Mehl

Hi Philippe,

~ Philippe Ombredanne [2022-03-10 18:33 +0100]:
Why would we need to change the SPDX text for the purpose of one tool
and convention?
IIUC, this is not changing the text of the LGPL license in SPDX, but
adding an optional segment. This optional text does not come out of the
blue but is provided officially by the FSF:

I refrain from reiterating the whole rationale why some people asked FSF
to do that. It's there, and I think there is good reason for SPDX to
include it.

Max: Could you not change your text in your tool instead?
Sure, we could make a special rule for downloading the license text. But
as said, I think it provides extra value for SPDX as well.

- I do not think any of the license texts in SPDX have been designed
to be used as reference texts; if anything the templating makes them
non suitable for this purpose.
I am sorry if we use it that way, but it proves to be extremely useful
for us (REUSE). Since we cannot maintain a compendium of SPDX-supported
license texts ourselves, this is the next best solution.

- If mixing related texts together is the new way to craft a license
text, why not also change the texts of the LGPL 2 and 2.1 to include
the text of the GPL 2 in them?
IANAL, but LGPLv2.x are crafted differently than LGPLv3. While the
former can be read as standalone licenses, the latter expands GPLv3. It
cannot be understood without it and could easily be understood as an
exception [^1].

In earlier mails there was some discussion whether it's an exception or
not. But that's not important, FSF does not see it like that.

- Like the LGPL, every other exception of the GPL would technically
demand to include a GPL text too... Does this mean that all the
exception texts should be updated now?
Absolutely not. The problem is that LGPLv3 is not considered an
exception, both in SPDX and FSF, while e.g. GCC-exception-3.1 is.

In the REUSE scope, when you add

SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-3.0-only WITH GCC-exception-3.1

to a file and run `reuse download --all`, the tool will download both
the full GPL license text as well as the exception from [^2].

With LGPL-3.0-only, the user would just get the "incomplete" text from


[^1]: E.g. "1. Exception to Section 3 of the GNU GPL."



Max Mehl - Programme Manager -- Free Software Foundation Europe
Contact and information: -- @mxmehl
The FSFE is a charity that empowers users to control technology

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