Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

Sheila Crossey sheila.crossey at
Thu Jan 10 15:37:47 UTC 2008


We are considering adding the GPL to the Fluid licensing scheme and are seeking input on the ramifications this would have.

Fluid is currently dual-licensed under ECL 2.0 and BSD licenses. The BSD license was selected to enable combining with GPL-licensed code (as BSD is deemed to be GPL compatible whereas ECL 2.0 is not) and to avoid forking of the code (BSD is not copyleft so code licensed under BSD can be merged into non-copyleft code). 

Some communities who license their code under the GPL will not adopt any third party code unless it also is licensed under GPL; that is, a GPL-compatible license such as BSD does not solve the problem (even though technically, it should).

Proposed solution:
Tri-license Fluid under ECL 2.0, BSD, and GPL V2. 
GPL V3 was considered as an option, but rejected as there are some parties who have licensed a considerable body of code under GPL V2 and who will not move to GPL V3 as they have various objections to the new terms. We can apply GPL V2 in a way that will permit the option of applying GPL V3 to those who wish to.

The benefit would be potentially increased penetration and usage of Fluid code. 
One risk is that GPL communities could license their modifications to Fluid code solely under GPL thus creating a separate fork. The chances of this happening could be reduced by publicizing this negative impact of single-licensing under the GPL. 

A second risk is that communities who are concerned about the effects of GPL's copyleft terms might be uncomfortable adopting Fluid if the GPL is one of the licenses which apply to it. We need input from Sakai regarding this.

As there may be other risks arising from the increased complexity of tri-licensing and adding copyleft into the mix, I encourage anyone with expertise, or access to it, to weigh in on this.


Sheila Crossey
Senior Project Coordinator
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
Faculty of Information Studies
University of Toronto
voice: (416) 946-7820
fax:    (416) 971-2896
email: sheila.crossey at
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