Subject: Re: combining software under different licenses
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 04:09:24 -0400

Lawrence Rosen scripsit:

> The problem is the following: Apache policy is to release all software
> it distributes under the Apache License. If Apache were to include links
> to GPL software and as a convenience to its customers also distribute
> the GPL software itself, then FSF would expect the entire package to
> be under the GPL. 

Quite so.  The ASF is composed of generous givers, who give their software
to anyone to reuse (within broad limits) for any purpose.  The FSF,
however, is composed of generous sharers, who give their software for
anyone to reuse however they like, provided (except within narrow limits)
that improvements made by others are shared with them, and do not care
to draw bright lines between changing the code itself and combining it
with other code to form a larger work.  (Those who do care to do so,
use the MPL, EPL, or CDDL.)

In the nature of things, generous givers cannot freely give away what
is provided to them by generous sharers.  This is a direct consequence
of their different goals, of which the licenses are merely the technical

John Cowan
                I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin