GNU GPL vs. GNU LGPL

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Fri Sep 10 10:21:17 EDT 2004


Casey REAS / UCLA said:
> As far as I can tell, the human readable versions of the CC GNU GPL and
> CC GNU LGPL are identical. I think there is already confusion about the
> differences between these two licenses and clarifying within the human
> readable commons deed would help people to differentiate.
>
> As a novice in copyright issues, it took me at least 20 minutes of reading
> the FSF site to simply differentiate between the two, the LGPL allows
> the software to be used in proprietary software, while this is prohibited
> with the GPL.

FSF discourages the use of LGPL and encourages the use of GPL, specifically
because LGPL allows the software to be rolled into a private derivative
and GPL does not. So, I wouldn't call that "identical".

If you believe your FLOSS project will have commercial competition,
then there are advantages to using GPL to prevent you competition
from using your work to compete against you and kill your project
before you ever finish it.

If you don't think your project will have commercial competition,
or you think your project is immune to commercial competition,
then you could probably go with something like a BSD license.

The way I understand LGPL is you would use it if you think you will
have market competition, but you also see a fixed end-point to
your project. If you are writing FLOSS software for a USB and
think you might have a commercial competitor who is also making
USB software, then LGPL protects your USB code with copyleft
while you and your project is working on it, preventing competition
from taking it private and competing against you. But once your
software is finished, LGPL allows anyone to use it as a library,
including private forks.





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