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Question: Which license should Emerald Editor operate with?
GNU General Public License - 8 (72.7%)
GNU Lesser General Public License - 1 (9.1%)
BSD-style license - 2 (18.2%)
Crimson Editor license - 0 (0%)
Other (please reply) - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 11

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Author Topic: License  (Read 32465 times)
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Arantor
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« on: April 26, 2006, 02:00:51 pm »

Another question that has come up is what license to license Emerald Editor under.

The choices?

Well, the choices seem to be the original Crimson license:

Code:
[ACKNOWLEDGEMENT]

 1. Part of this software was derived from Henry Spencer's regular expression
 library.
 
 2. This software is packaged using NSIS by courtesy of Nullsoft.

[COPYRIGHT & LICENSE]

 Copyright (C) 1999-2004 Ingyu Kang, All rights reserved.
 
 This software is provided 'as-is', without any express or implied warranty.  
 In no event will the author be held liable for any damages arising from
 the use of this software.
 
 Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose,
 including commercial applications, and to redistribute it freely, subject to
 the following restrictions:
 
 1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not
 claim that you wrote the original software.
 
 2. This notice may not be removed or altered from any distribution.
Other choices include:
* The GNU General Public License: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
* The GNU Lesser General Public License: http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html
* Modified BSD License: http://www.xfree86.org/3.3.6/COPYRIGHT2.html#5
* zLib License: http://www.gzip.org/zlib/zlib_license.html

The biggest problem here is that the licenses are open to specific interpretation and have never really been tested in court. I'm personally looking at the original license from Crimson, it's simple, it's effective, and it's basically the underpinning of the Modified BSD and zLib licenses.
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caiyong
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2006, 05:23:16 pm »

There is at least one difference between CE and the planned EE: are "we" going to distribute EE's source code along with its binary? If so, we need also consider the license issue for the source code?
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Arantor
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 08:03:18 pm »

Well, that's the question, isn't it?

I planned to have the project open-source, so that essentially the code is available to anyone who wants it. That would let them make their own builds if they wanted (predominantly *nix/Mac OS X people, I imagine), or use prebuilt binaries we can provide. Certainly that would be the case for Windows-based editions.

The binary itself could definitely be licensed on Mr. Kang's original license construction, which is fine. However, the source opens up a raft of issues if it is publicly available.

My point above was that if you are using the BSD-style license, copyright is still asserted, and enforceable in a court of law, certainly in the UK, where I am based, and in the US where the server is based.

Certainly if we are distributing code, we will need some kind of warranty disclaimer i.e. if this software, either while being built, or in use, trashes your system, we are not responsible - the GNU licenses have something to this effect.

None of the licenses I mentioned have been tried in a court of law (either UK or US), but LGPL may be the most appropriate in that respect, it covers all bases without being overly restrictive.

Any ideas?
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alpha
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 11:24:42 pm »

The license question will be answered soon, depending on the libraries we use and if we use a code base from another project. I think we will end up with GPL V2...

Markus Schulz
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Arantor
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2006, 12:06:53 am »

I have a feeling that it will be GNU GPL v2 as well, to be honest.

That said, we're looking at using wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows), which is GNU LGPL, and Scintilla, which is a custom (if Open Source Initiative approved) license, basically disclaiming the author(s) from any liability for any software/issues resulting from using Scintilla.

An article, here from Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation explains why they reckon software should be GPL not LGPL. The gist of the argument is that if software provides a unique feature, it should be GPL to ensure that it gives free software the advantage.

For the record, I'm not quite so bothered either way; as long as the software is free, developing and maintained, I'm quite happy.

By the way, the LGPL defines software which can be licensed under it as:

Quote
This License Agreement applies to any software library or other program which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder or other authorized party saying it may be distributed under the terms of this Lesser General Public License (also called "this License"). Each licensee is addressed as "you".

A "library" means a collection of software functions and/or data prepared so as to be conveniently linked with application programs (which use some of those functions and data) to form executables.

The "Library", below, refers to any such software library or work which has been distributed under these terms. A "work based on the Library" means either the Library or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Library or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated straightforwardly into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".)
Guess that means we can use it if we want, even though EE won't be a library.
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alpha
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2006, 12:15:27 am »

Arantor: Sharp Develop 2 uses the LGPL
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Arantor
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2006, 11:06:38 pm »

LGPL suits me fine. It's not too restrictive, and it means that if someone wants to use EE as part of a larger project, they're able to (not that I think they would, it might cause issues on the GUI front)

Unless anyone has any issues or further suggestions, we might call it a halt there. I'll leave the topic open for a bit, but realistically a GNU license was pretty much the only way to go. (And unless we take a GNU GPL module into EE, LGPL is fine)
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alpha
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2006, 12:17:48 am »

Arantor is right, we could use LGPL as long as we don't have a GPL module... I don't care to use GPL anytime.

Markus Schulz
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Arantor
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2006, 10:29:15 pm »

OK, since no-one else has said anything, I've added the LGPL into the SVN tree as the license document.

If anyone needs this amended (i.e. we decide to add in a GPL module for whatever reason), I'll make the necessary arrangements.
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Arantor
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2006, 03:11:16 pm »

It has been suggested that we open Emerald Editor up under the full General Public License, as opposed to the Lesser version. I originally closed the debate and went with the LGPL, but it seems that perhaps we can reopen the debate.

One thing I would say though, if we do go to full GPL, we will not be able to rescind it and return to LGPL status very easily, if at all.
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Arantor
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2006, 03:13:08 pm »

The pros and cons of using the different licenses have been batted around a bit in http://forum.emeraldeditor.com/index.php?topic=11.0 before we originally settled on Lesser GPL.

Please make your thoughts known on here, to see if we wish to change or not.
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daemon
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2006, 04:54:08 pm »

I think that using the GPL is better because it's in the true spirit of OSS: if you write a piece of code and somebody else uses it, the entire community gets the benefit of the work of that "somebody else." That's how OSS thrives, and GNU recommends using the GNU GPL as opposed to the GNU LGPL for exactly that reason (and because the GNU LGPL is considered a library license):

"Using the Lesser GPL for any particular library constitutes a retreat for free software. It means we partially abandon the attempt to defend the users' freedom, and some of the requirements to share what is built on top of GPL-covered software. In themselves, those are changes for the worse.

Sometimes a localized retreat is a good strategy. Sometimes, using the LGPL for a library might lead to wider use of that library, and thus to more improvement for it, wider support for free software, and so on. This could be good for free software if it happens to a large extent. But how much will this happen? We can only speculate." (Source)

And I don't want our software to be considered "abandoning" our users' freedom Tongue.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2006, 04:57:55 pm by daemon » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2006, 02:43:02 pm »

Honestly, it matters not technically to me.  But as daemon said, GPL is a little more in the open source spirit of what we are trying to achieve.
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daemon
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2006, 10:51:53 pm »

It looks like the GNU GPL is the choice license. Should we change the COPYING file?
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Arantor
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2006, 12:15:03 am »

I think it may be about time to do that.

The website tree will also need to be amended to reflect the "It's licensed under..." link on the main page, which also means I can do an actual svn co of the tree once it's amended.

I won't get chance to do this tonight, but if anyone else gets chance to amend the SVN tree files in SVN/website to reflect the new license (including hyperlink), I can svn co it into the live webtree tomorrow.
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