Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

Mark Norton markjnorton at
Thu Jan 10 16:42:20 UTC 2008

I wonder how the Moodle community justifies the use of Moodle in 
commercial offers, such as MoodleRooms?  Perhaps GPL only applies to 
software sold, rather than service models such as ModdleRooms.

- Mark

Sheila Crossey wrote:
> 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).
> Sheila
> ----- 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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>>> fluid-work at
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