Adding the GPL to Fluid license? - requesting input

Lennard Fuller lfuller at
Thu Jan 10 16:59:17 UTC 2008

It is possible to have a commercial offering and still use GPL... all 
the code has to comply with the license though.  However, many companies 
prefer to use opensource components and have their business layer 
proprietary/closed source.  Or modify opensource components and not make 
the modified version open.  Neither of those methods will work with GPL.

Mark Norton wrote:
> 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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