Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

Sean Keesler smkeesle at
Thu Jan 10 16:01:08 UTC 2008

Sheila Crossey wrote:
> All,
> We are considering adding the GPL to the Fluid licensing scheme and 
> are seeking input on the ramifications this would have.
> Refresher:
> 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).
> Issue:
> 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.
> Risk/Benefit:
> 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.
My understanding of the issue is that "pro GPL" developers are concerned 
that their contributions to a body of code (Fluid) that is susceptible 
to a 3rd party snatching it up under the "business friendly" BSD 
license, enhancing it and NEVER releasing their 3rd party enhancements 
back to the community would be a bad thing.

I'm not sure how licensing Fluid under multiple licenses would allay 
their concerns.

Can you help me get it?


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