Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

Sheila Crossey sheila.crossey at
Thu Jan 10 16:35:20 UTC 2008

I think Moodle may be an example of a group that would be more open to 
adopting (i.e. integrating) Fluid if it were GPL licensed. Perhaps Colin 
could provide more detail regarding this as he is the one who brought the 
issue to my attention.

You could be right that applying GPL (or even LGPL) as a third license will 
not satisfy these groups as they may object to using code which is subject 
to being taken private downstream under one of the other licenses.

I'm also worried that this attempt to "please all of the people all of the 
time" could backfire and end up pleasing nobody. In particular, I'm 
concerned that Sakai might have a concern with one of the licenses being GPL 
(or LGPL for that matter).


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Norton" <markjnorton at>
To: "Sheila Crossey" <sheila.crossey at>
Cc: <fluid-work at>; "Barnaby Gibson" 
<barnaby.gibson at>; "Christopher D. Coppola" 
<chris.coppola at>; <licensing at>
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:53 AM
Subject: Re: Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

> This sounds like an attempt to please all of the people all of the time. 
> The fact is there are some very different philosophies in the open source 
> community, primarily divided between those who favor commercial use and 
> those who don't. If Fluid is licensed (as it currently is) under ECL 2.0, 
> then the Sakai community will likely be satisfied, since it has a more 
> inclusive view of open source use. However, I suspect that those in other 
> camps will not be satisfied with a GPL license if it is also licensed 
> under ECL. What's the point, really?
> Who specifically needs a GPL license for Fluid?
> - Mark Norton
> 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.
>> Sheila
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------
>> 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 <mailto:sheila.crossey at>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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