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Mozilla The Internet

Mozilla Relicensing 312

Posted by michael
from the too-many-cooks-spoil-the-license dept.
bluephone writes: "Today, the bits go into the tree to relicense Mozilla under a triple license, MPL/GPL/LGPL. What this means, for those of you who aren't too up on this stuff, is that when YOU take the code, and make your own product, you now have a triple choice as to what license you want to distribute your code under. Read the FAQ here."
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Mozilla Relicensing

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  • by Gerv (15179) <gerv.gerv@net> on Wednesday September 19, 2001 @06:29PM (#2322571) Homepage
    Note: we have only relicensed 6,000 files, using Netscape's ability to relicense files under the NPL. We have a bunch more of those to do (with different comment structure), and then we have to ask permission for the ones covered by the MPL.

    This is the very beginning of the process. The story erroneously implies it's finished. It's not.

    Gerv
    • Yes, I meant to have the word BEGIN after the word bits. It should have read "Today the bits begin to go in..."
  • Our company is seriosuily looking at Modzilla for a variety business applications. Having total control of the product gives up the flexibility to create some really cool app. for our clients. I think Mozilla, if marketed correctly, could start regaining market share from MS. Honestly, technology trends start at the fortune 500 level (in my opinion) - start there and it may have a chance to succeed. Grass roots support is not enough to take it forward.

    Cheers,

    -Angreal
  • by jesser (77961)
    when YOU take the code, and make your own product, you now have a triple choice as to what license you want to distribute your code under

    It's better than that -- you now have 8 choices for licensing when you redistribute Mozilla, because you can distribute the code under any combination of licenses. (The empty set is a choice because both the BSD and the MPL allow distributing just binaries.)
    • Ok, I'm an idiot. Mozilla is being relicensed under the MPL, GPL, and LGPL, not the BSD as I implied above.
  • If some of the original files (dbm, expat, jpeg etc.) are still being licensed under their original licenses (BSD, MIT etc.) how is that going to affect the overall GPL compatiablity of the triple-license scheme for the whole project? And if, as I suspect, it will make the whole Mozilla project incompatible with the GPL, what was the point of the tripple licensing scheme?

    just wondering.
    • Re:License Question (Score:2, Informative)

      by Gerv (15179)
      Files under those licenses can be combined with GPLed code, so it's not a problem.

      Gerv
      • Actually, the dbm files appear to be under the *original* BSD copyright (ie, the one with the advertising clause) so they are not compatible with the GPL. Haven't we been over this before?

        • Did they come from Berkeley? (I should know, but I don't.) If so, the advertising clause is null and void by order of the Regents, and so it is therefore a non-issue.

          ...waiting for the 2-minute mandatory posting waiting period to clear...thanks, Slashdot, for discriminating against those who can think and type quickly...

  • What about the Artistic license? The Python license? The Common Public License? The Sleepycat license? The Nethack General Public license?

    Why did they choose just 3 licenses, when the Open Source Initiative approves of 23 licenses?

    • Because MPL/NPL code can already be combined with code under all those other licenses. Due to its restrictive nature the GPL must be specially accomodated in order to combine MPL and GPL code.
      Since mozilla.org would like to see Mozilla used as widely as possible they have decided to do the extra work required to make this combination possible
    • Read the FAQ. Mozilla is not relicensable under the Artistic license, the Python licence, etc, because those other licences are not consistent with the Mozilla project's goals. Quote:
      Why didn't you just relicense the Mozilla code under a non-copyleft license (like the MIT or BSD licenses) that would be compatible with all other possible licenses?

      Because historically Mozilla code has always been released under some form of copyleft licensing, and we wish to continue to use copyleft provisions to promote sharing of modifications to Mozilla code.

      Note that the Mozilla code can be combined with code licenced under many other Open Source licences, like the Python or BSD licences, so there isn't a licence compatibility problem with these licences.
    • by Zigg (64962)

      I think most people missed the humor here... :-)

  • The Mozilla project is a great success of the Open Source Community. It has spawned so many good projects like Bugzilla and Tinderbox. It has also ushered in a new era of cooperation between commercial entities and the community with the release of both Mozilla and the proprietary Netscape browser based on the same source code. The resources required to organize a project of this size and complexity were until recently thought to be beyond the range of Open Source.

    Even though the browser itself is a technical failure, being slower and more buggy than Opera and Konqueror, and even Internet Exploder, the project is one of the great successes of our Community. This relicensing is a further ambitious step for the good of the community that hasn't been tried on a project of this scale before. I wish the best of luck to the Mozilla people, and may your name live on long after your browser has died!
    • Damn, I hadn't realised that the Mozilla browser had failed as I use it daily on 5 different computers without having had it crash for well over a month. I guess the fact that it is the most standards compliant browser ever made and that it is a joy to use are sure signs of its failure. It must all be an illusion. ;-P
      • I guess the fact that it is the most standards compliant browser ever made [...]

        Prove it. I'll make a contrary assertion: Internet Explorer 6 is the most standards-compliant browser ever made. I'm not going to support it at all, but you didn't support your "fact" either.

        I've heard this statement given as fact a lot, and I don't buy it. Last time I tried to make CSS pages on Mozilla, it seemed to have some important CSS-1 stuff broken. (And before a Bugzilla person jumps in: I don't really want to spend the time checking Mozilla's complete CSS compliance and creating bug reports. I just want people to stop spouting "facts".)

    • This seems to be rather a back-handed compliment.

      You obviously haven't tried 0.9.4 . It's really quite good, both faster and much less buggy than previous releases. I was very pleasantly surprised.


      Hey, I've had my own criticisms of Mozilla. But it looks as if they may have been right, and the rest of us may have been wrong.

      Bruce

      • But it looks as if they may have been right, and the rest of us may have been wrong.

        Thanks. It takes a big person to even admit they MIGHT be wrong. :)

      • "Faster and much less buggy than previous [mozilla] releases" is damning with faint praise, and only points out the extent to which they are still losing ground to IE.

        0.9.4 on *nix still falls over and dies regularly when attempting to view sites with plugin (specifically, flash and real) content, nontrivial ECMAscript or complex table structures. It might be suitable for limited-purpose use (e.g. viewing internally designed web apps that you have personally vetted against mozilla), but it is still lightyears away from being an acceptable general-purpose web browser.
        • I dunno about real but I've had no problems viewing Flash sites. Mozilla even handles reasonably complex java well, if I use the plug-in from JRE 1.3.1. Which is much, much more than I can say for Netscape 4.x releases. If I keep it open for hours and hours, eventually it will act funny, segfault and crap out but it lasts longer, on average, than IE ever would.

          Nearly all Web sites that render properly on IE (barring those that only include IE-specific JavaScript, or sniff for browser make and model and reject Netscape 6/Mozilla) look fine on Mozilla.

          For Windows and Linux, at least, Mozilla is a very usable, solid browser for the Real World.
    • The Mozilla browser is far from a failure. Recent releases preform very well against konq and opera. Mozilla is the only serious alternative to IE. Although Netscape 6 may be a failure in the market due to questionable positioning of product release, it should be a force to reckon with if Windows loses grip of the market.
      • Mozilla is the only serious alternative to IE.


        No way. Opera is pretty darn good too. And while I also have Mozilla, I don't think I'll be switching to it as a default browser under Windows till they support mouse gestures. Gotta love them. And having each web page as a child window is nifty too.

        • Opera isn't viable for most people because its user interface is very confusing. For example, to import your Internet Explorer favorites into Opera's hotlist (which Opera doesn't do automatically), you have to right-click on an item in your hotlist, choose 'File' from a context menu with 10 items and 2 submenus, and then choose 'Import Internet Explorer Favorites...'. To disable javascript, you have to look in the "plugins" section of preferences.

          There are also a few places where Opera is clearly sacrificing usablility for speed. Context menus don't appear until you lift the right mouse button, because of the gesture feature, which is great for power users but not very useful for most users. Accidentally moving the mouse cursor a tiny bit while trying to invoke a context menu causes the context menu to not appear, and sometimes results in a destructive action such as closing the window. Browser windows are constrained as MDI children, allowing them to appear faster, but making it difficult to use the browser for separate tasks at the same time.

          It also has a few infuriating bugs, such as the way the command "opera http://www.slashdot.org/" opens a window containing both my home page and slashdot.org, with my home page in front.

          I have to admit, though, Opera is amazingly fast, and the threaded javascript is impressive (you can interact with the browser or a web page while javascript on the page is caught in an infinite loop).
          • Context menus don't appear until you lift the right mouse button, because of the gesture feature, which is great for power users but not very useful for most users.

            In IE 5.5, context menus don't appear until you lift the right mouse button, and you can exploit this to get around JavaScript right-click traps [everything2.com]. In Mozilla build 2001091403 (the nightly trunk build released right after the 0.9.4 milestone), context menus don't appear until you lift the right mouse button. Your point?

        • And having each web page as a child window is nifty too.

          I consider that Opera's single most irritating 'feature'. Managing windows is the task of the window manager, not the application. Want to browse the web on two virtual desktops? You better start Opera twice. (And yes, even if you don't use Un*x, there is software to allow multiple desktops under Windows).

          People everywhere are moving away from MDI interfaces. The latest versions of Word aren't MDI anymore. It will be cut from the next version of OpenOffice too.

    • Have you tried Mozilla recently? Since 0.9 I haven't found a serious bug, and it gets faster every release. If you think it's still too slow, try Galeon, which is Mozilla with everything non-essential stripped away.

      Besides, Mozilla are the only free, complete, platform-independent browsers available (not counting thing based on Mozilla's components). Take a look at the list:

      • Opera: Not free
      • Konqueror: Tied to the KDE platform
      • Netscape 4.x: Not free, and buggy as hell
      • All the smaller browsers like Amaya lack support for one thing or the other: CSS, scripting, plugins, ...

      This alone is enought to ensure that Mozilla never dies.

      • It doesn't make it more of a technical success just because it's the best of the free, platform-indepent browsers. If Mozilla can't compete with non-free browsers, it's not a technical success.

        Linux can claim/argue to be the best OS, free or not, so that's why it can be called a success.

    • Mozilla is more corrent, more stable, and faster than Konqueror and Opera. The constant whining of the KDE sycophant class cannot change this fundamental fact. Mozilla is designed to render HTML and XML documents, and to expose the DOM API to programs, according to W3C specifications. Konqueror is designed to increase the zeal of its sycophants. Both projects appear to be successful.

      More people use Mozilla than you may realize. Mozilla is embedded in Galeon, the ascending champion of GNOME web browsers. It is also embedded in GNOME's file and desktop manager Nautilus. Also, it is embedded in the windows client for Bloomberg, the premier financial data and news service. It is not as prolific as Internet Explorer, but that is due less to technical merit than to market reality.



      • Mozilla is more corrent, more stable, and faster than Konqueror and Opera. The constant whining of the KDE sycophant class cannot change this fundamental fact. Mozilla is designed to render HTML and XML documents, and to expose the DOM API to programs, according to W3C specifications. Konqueror is designed to increase the zeal of its sycophants. Both projects appear to be successful.



        I am not sure if your statements re: Konqueror are accurate. I think that Konq exists mainly to provide an exact counterpart to Internet Explorer for KDE: an "integrated-with-the-desktop" Web browser.

        I do not agree with this idea. More importantly I do not want to subject my desktop to the kinds of bloat that KDE and GNOME represent. Hence my reasons for not using Konq and for using Mozilla; if I were a KDE user I'd give it a go.
      • Mozilla is more corrent, more stable, and faster than Konqueror and Opera.

        More stable that Opera maybe but not as fast. I use both Mozilla and Opera on my laptop, mostly Opera because of the speed. I go to Mozilla when some page doesn't work. Mozilla is pretty fast at rendering (Gecko) but still, Opera is faster in many case. There's no question that Mozilla's UI is slow, though much faster than it used to be.

        On my 2x1 GHz/2 GB machine I only use Mozilla.

    • The idea that mozilla is slow and buggy is a myth. While it may have been true a six months ago, the most recent releases are extremely fast and stable. No surprise -- the basic functionality has been completed for a while, and most of the recent development has targeted speed and stability.

      It now renders most content faster than IE. It is still a bit sluggish with some types of DHTML and Javascript, and the startup time is behind most other browsers.

      It is extremely stable, mostly due to the talkback bug reporting system. Talkback automatically allows users to submit back bug reports complete with stack trace to the developers when a crash occurs. This system allowed the moz developers to target the bugs that make the most difference.

      The browser may arguably be a failure, but not a technical failure.
      • >> The idea that mozilla is slow and buggy is a myth.

        Generally, I'd agree. My only problem with mozilla is how long it takes to create a new window. If this were optomised then mozilla would be just about perfect.

        I've been using mozilla as my primrary browser for a couple weeks now.

        • My only problem with mozilla is how long it takes to create a new window.

          Really? It takes about 1 second on my system (750mhz Duron/256mb, Debian 2.2r3). What kind of hardware do you have?
          • "My only problem with mozilla is how long it takes to create a new window."

            Really? It takes about 1 second on my system (750mhz Duron/256mb, Debian 2.2r3). What kind of hardware do you have?

            It takes at most 1/10th second on Opera, for comparison, IOW, effectively instant which is how I want it.

      • I don't know if anyone else has noticed this but there is a patch for IE at windows update that adds a crash data talkback feature to IE. Seeing as it was Mozilla's talkback feature that has made it so stable, MS probably realized that the open source comunity was doing something better than they were <sarcasm>oh my gosh!</sarcasm> and now they are trying to catch up. :)

        At the very least this confirms that the Mozilla development model is at least on par with Microsoft's, possibly even better. I view this as a good omen for the world of open source.

        var x = openSource.community.karma.value;
        x++;
      • it may be fast to render a page, but it take more than a second just to open a right-click menu or any simple action like that. WHY?
        (on a 750MHz K7 with 256Mb memory, running nothing else)

        this is very anoying.
        • How odd. On my Debian 2.2r3 system, there is only the slightest pause when right-clicking in a window for the menu to come up (I have Duron 750/256mb).

          Opening a new window (Ctrl-N) takes a little more than a second.

          Regardless, all this stuff has gotten better with each successive release, so hang in there, all the performance issues will eventually just go away. :)
    • I use Mozilla as my primary browser. I don't believe I've yet experienced a crash. Maybe the Windows version isn't as stable, but on Linux, Mozilla is about the best browser available (with Konqueror coming in a very close second).

      It's not without its problems, but it's quite a good browser. You have to keep in mind that it's still in development (and probably always will be).

      I do agree that the Mozilla project itself is doing all sorts of great things. It takes a lot of work to manage such a huge project (and its associated side projects), but I would not consider Mozilla a "technical failure"...

      As for Opera, I've only used it a couple of times, but the MDI interface is just terrible, especially if you have more than one monitor. It's fast, but I just can't get used to the interface.
  • Netscape lost the browser war in the yesteryear, so perhaps this is a scheme to boost morale among its developers. "today we shall fight a licensing war! AGAINST OURSELVES!"

    and so on, and so forth.

    • I thought it was Microsoft's job to fight wars over software licensing.....
    • Not sure this is a good idea for Mozilla.

      Remember, last time Netscape found itself in a war, their product went from the really rather good Netscape 3.0 to errr... Confusicator 4.0. Only since they basically admitted defeat did Mozilla start getting reasonable again.

      Hey, maybe whoever suggested the relicensing is a TrollTech saboteur? I mean, Konqueror and Opera both use Qt, and Qt already has like 3 licenses. Makes sense, doesn't it?

      Mmmm, on second thoughts, maybe I should leave those toadstools in the garden alone in future...

  • or is licensing (in this case at least) getting out of control? Sheesh, I have enough trouble understanding the nuances of ONE license let alone THREE. Then you have interactions between each of the licenses, mutual exclusions maybe... my mind shudders at the mere thought of it. I'm sure the lawyers have thought about all this, but it just seems strange to me to have three different licenses. Oh yeah, the FAQ confuses me even more... maybe I'm just a confused person.
    • They're just fixing an old mistake. People have been complaining for a long time that Mozilla wasn't GPL. Now they let you choose.

      What are the effects of this? Simple:

      • Netscape chooses their Netscape/Mozilla Public License, and can still do their binary only releases.
      • People developing things based on Mozilla, like the Galeon team, can treat Mozilla like any other piece of GPL code.

      Releasing code with multiple licenses isn't so unusual. For example, for Perl you can choose between the GPL and the Artistic License.

      There are no interactions between the different licenses, you just pick one and ignore the other(s).

    • What this means is that you can choose to license it under any ONE of the three licenses. That means if you already understand one of them, you don't have to bother with the others. Easier, not harder.
    • There isn't any conflict from having three licenses. The licenses are compatible (meaning no conflicting terms between them) and having the multiple licenses is mostly for the benefit of those redistributing the code-- that person is free to license it under any one or combination of the licenses.
      • The licenses are compatible (meaning no conflicting terms between them)

        Of course if you get really pedantic, you'll notice the MPL is on the list of GPL-incompatible licenses [fsf.org], but the MPL allows a module to be licensed under other licenses (including GPL), so...

  • Sigh! NPL,GPL,LGPL! It sounds like its past time for the Bugroff licence.

    http://www.geocities.com/cy_ent/bugroff.html [geocities.com]

    Simply stated, the Bugroff license says...
    The answer to any and every question relating to the copyright, patents, legal issues of Bugroff licensed software is....

    Sure, No problem. Don't worry, be happy. Now bugger off.

    Follow the link for more on my reasoning and why the GPL is cosmically speaking a bad idea.

    • Good idea or bad, the GPL exists and its terms prevented GPL'd projects from taking advantage of Mozilla code. This is a workaround on the Mozilla end so GPL'd projects can embed our engine as easily as proprietary projects can.
      • His entire argument seems to rest on the idea that laws are worthless. Quite aside from ignoring the genuinely beneficial impacts of a system of laws, simply ignoring power and control structures isn't a very promising strategy.

        It is as if he were arguing that to win a soccer game you should stop all that messing around with the feet stuff, pick up a notepad and start writing poetry instead. Arguing that the rules are stupid because they don't allow you to use the most useful appendages you have misses the point.

        The legal system simply is. We live within it. Pretending it doesn't exist is even more useless than spending all of your life worrying about it.

    • From the Bugroff license page:


      The GPL is just begging somebody to take it to court.

      People often say this. But nobody has ever taken it to court. The reason? The lawyers can't find a loophole or error in it, so nobody dares to risk it.

  • I guess this now means that there are three times as many people on /. that will flame one for releasing a derived product.
  • This is great news, and one day, in the future, maybe even GNU/Stallman/Linux will be Really Free under the joint MPL/GPL/LGPL license.

    And they say the corporate world is full of beurocracy (OK I know I can't spell that)? What happened to just old-fashioned bloody copyright: "I made it, shove off". Give it away for free if you want, and then if the company every goes bust, the source is made available. And this would also stop crap companies being rescued by last-minute buyouts as they would have no software assets.

    Problem solved.

    Next: how to prove that I own the idea of software.

  • To solve the licensing issues once and for all, I propose the following Inconsistent Public License: (IPL)

    You may only distribute this work under the following terms:

    1. If you distribute this work, it must not be distributed in a manner that satisfies these terms.
    End of license.
    • You haven't used a self-referential and self-negating acronym. Essential for any Free Software project. Thus, it should be NCL, for NCL's a Consistent License.

      Bruce

      • NCL's a Consistent License.

        Shouldn't that be NIL for: NIL's an Inconsistent License?
        • Congratulations, you are the first to break (and therefore test) the NCL.

          Since we do not have a fanatic like ESR to write a 20k discourse on your failure as a geek and as a human being, I will have to do.

          <meta personality="esr" mood="gplbreak">

          Since the basis of the NCL is to promote inconsistency, it is only natural for the name to be inconsistent with its use. Had you the slightest clue as to the philisophical basis on which life, itself, is based and the very reasoning behind the NCL, you would clearly see things as I do.

          Since you are not enlightened, obviously, I feel the need to bang it into your head.

          Stop the abuse! Stop the violation!
          </esr>

          Yeah, so what he said.

          This post is hereby distributed under the NCL and is *NOT* copyright (c) 2001 Hank Zimmerman
      • actually, there's no negation there, just recursion... How bout this?

        NCL: "NIL's a Consistent License"
        NIL: "NCL's an Inconsistent License"

        This emulates the HURD acronym's style of definition (use codependent definitions to define nonsense). I'm too tired to really test the logic of this BS, but it sounds logically fit for the circumstance (thus, false). :)
    • Call it "Godel's Public License" (GPL) and it could become very popular among the already confused.
    • Note that the licence is trivially satisfiable by simply not distributing the work.


  • LGPL is automatically dual GPL/LGPL. To quote from the LGPL:


    3. You may opt to apply the terms of the ordinary GNU General Public License instead of this License to a given copy of the Library. To do this, you must alter all the notices that refer to this License, so that they refer to the ordinary GNU General Public License, version 2, instead of to this License. (If a newer version than version 2 of the ordinary GNU General Public License has appeared, then you can specify that version instead if you wish.) Do not make any other change in these notices.

    Once this change is made in a given copy, it is irreversible for that copy, so the ordinary GNU General Public License applies to all subsequent copies and derivative works made from that copy.


    Andrew
  • Three different ways to make no money off your labors ...

    What will they think of next ...

  • They should've made the code public domain. I mean, really, the only point of the GPL is to be anti-business. If you really are out for the betterment of humanity, that includes corporations...

    Oops, shhh, I didn't mean to reveal the secret purpose of GPL. :-p
  • by matty (3385)
    Thanks for reading this thread and replying. :)

    One question: there is only one drawback to Mozilla on Linux left for me, which is that I can't access my credit card account at CapitolOne.com. They say my browser (Netscape 6.0) is Non-Compliant, but they're "working on it".

    Do you have any insight into this?

    Thanks for all your (and everyone else's) great work! (and for putting up with all our whining while we were waiting to get to this point :)

    Cheers!
    • > Do you have any insight into this?

      No immediate hope of a good resolution as far as we know :-(

      Gerv
  • Last time I read the LGPL, there was a clause that said that you are free to relicense LGPL stuff as GPL. Explicitly saying it's both LGPL and GPL seems redundant, right? Or am I missing something?

    From the LGPL text:

    You may opt to apply the terms of the ordinary GNU General Public License instead of this License to a given copy of the Library. To do this, you must alter all the notices that refer to this License, so that they refer to the ordinary GNU General Public License, version 2, instead of to this License. (If a newer version than version 2 of the ordinary GNU General Public License has appeared, then you can specify that version instead if you wish.) Do not make any other change in these notices.

    Once this change is made in a given copy, it is irreversible for that copy, so the ordinary GNU General Public License applies to all subsequent copies and derivative works made from that copy.

    • It involves replacing all the license headers, which is a pain, and makes it harder to give your changes back if you do it. It's easier to incorporate the GPL into the original language.

      Gerv
    • I would think you can license MPL as LGPL as well, since using it as a library would necessarily involve creating new files... Of course, I think the slashdot article is wrong (what a rare occurance), and that the triple license is NPL/GPL/LGPL, not MPL/GPL/LGPL...
  • My problem is that as an employee of a software development company, any accidental of copyleft code into our copyright codebase would mean that our copyright is null and void.

    When Mozilla copylefts SAMPLE code, the only way to avoid the risk to corporate intellectual property is to use cleanroom reverse engineering procedures.

    This is quite expensive. Just use a BSD compatible license and you do the entire world a favor. If you want commercial software developers to be able to read and help you improve your code, give us a license that dosen't kill our employers.
    • "When Mozilla copylefts SAMPLE code, the only way to avoid the risk to corporate intellectual property is to use cleanroom reverse engineering procedures.

      This is quite expensive. Just use a BSD compatible license and you do the entire world a favor. If you want commercial software developers to be able to read and help you improve your code, give us a license that dosen't kill our employers."

      Look, if Microsoft wants to stea^H^H^H^Huse Mozilla code in IE 7 or whatever, you can just come out and say it.

      (Note: this is sarcastic)
    • by mattdm (1931)
      That's nice and all, but have you read the MPL?
      (Section 3.7, for example.)
      • by Dwonis (52652)
        I don't follow:

        3.7. Larger Works. You may create a Larger Work by combining Covered Code with other code not governed by the terms of this License and distribute the Larger Work as a single product. In such a case, You must make sure the requirements of this License are fulfilled for the Covered Code.

    • Taken from the Mozilla relicensing FAQ [mozilla.org].
      How will the new Mozilla license scheme affect developers who want to use Mozilla code in creating and distributing proprietary applications?

      Not at all; developers creating and distributing proprietary software incorporating Mozilla code will be able to continue to use that code under MPL or NPL terms and conditions, exactly as they have been doing all along.


      They tell us that you can still use the code under the NPL, just as always. See the FAQ for some details; talk to your lawyer for legal advice.

      The important point here is that Netscape thinks that you can indeed use their code to make proprietary applications. If your lawyer tells you that you can't, you should have him communicate his reasons to Netscape. I'm sure that they would appreciate the feedback.

      I think that Netscape is being a good deal more generous than I would be with my code. As always, if you don't like the license, don't use the code, and don't release your code under a license you don't like.

      Getting off topic now: By the way, for the folks who point to a BSD license as a cure-all, I have a question: is it true that BSD licensed code may be re-released under the GPL, just as it may be re-released under a closed-source license?

      • is it true that BSD licensed code may be re-released under the GPL, just as it may be re-released under a closed-source license?

        Code released under a licence stays under that licence unless the copyright holder changes it. If you hand someone else the source unmodified, the BSD licence must remain attached, so they get the same rights you did. (Of course, you don't have to hand them the source. That's not re-releasing under a closed-source licence, it's not releasing the source.)

        The main thing, though, is that if you have code under a BSD licence (sans advertising clause) you can incorporate that code in a larger work which can then be released as a whole under the GPL. This is what we mean by "GPL compatible": your changes can be released under the GPL.


  • I'm no expert, but does this solve the licensing issues with libart?

    If it does, that could mean native SVG support by 1.0 (the current implementation has licensing issues because of libart, if I am not mistaken). That would be a great thing for Mozilla.
    • My guess is no.

      The relicensing is really a one-way gift. Contrast "Hi, I know you are a GPL zealot or want to use code written by same; with this licensing scheme you can also use Mozilla code in your software." with "Hi, I am a GPL zealot and as a result, you cannot use any of my code in anything licensed with anything other than the GPL."

      The bottom line is that the triple-licensed Mozilla code, when linked with GPL-licensed code, effectively becomes GPL-licensed, but GPL-licensed code cannot find its way into Mozilla unless Mozilla stops using the [MN]PL entirely.

      Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

      • > The relicensing is really a one-way gift.

        Only if people are nasty enough not to triple-license their changes. mozilla.org hopes that there are very few people out there ungrateful enough to take and use a chunk of our code and then deny us the right to the fixes they make.

        The upside is that more members of the free software community can use our stuff, and will hopefully contribute to the project.

        Gerv
        • You're right, of course. The point I'm trying to make, though, is that in order for software to become part of a GPL'd project, it must itself become GPL'd in one form or another. In the case of Moz code, the [MN]PL and LGPL are shed when it is linked with GPL-only code.

          I'm right behind your hopes, and I think you'll find that most reasonable people are too.

    • I'm not sure what the libart license is, but mozilla.org will not accept LGPL and GPL-only code into its tree, because it can't be used by all members of our community.

      Gerv

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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