SAX2: Which license?

David Megginson david at
Mon Jan 10 13:21:48 GMT 2000

John Cowan <cowan at> writes:

> I recommend one of the following licenses:
> 	BSD (minimum restrictions, GPL-compatible)

Perhaps the best compromise.

> 	LGPL (can be incorporated into closed-source programs,
> 		GPL-style for the code itself, can convert to GPL)

Eric Raymond recommended this one in private correspondence, but I
have a few concerns:

1. It seems to me to be a bit of a burden to require apps that use SAX 
   always to bundle the source code for the SAX interfaces or include
   a pointer to them.

2. I have to read more carefully, but the LGPL seems to require that
   you distribute object files so that you can relink against a
   modified version of the library if the library is not
   dynamically-loaded; not an issue for Java, obviously, but it could
   be a killer for C/C++ apps.

3. I'm not sure that there's an advantage in requiring parties to
   open-source modified versions of the interface, since modified
   versions necessarily harm interoperability anyway.

4. It's not particularly important to me, at least, that an app even
   mention that it uses SAX if the use is strictly internal.

I've mentioned these to Eric and will wait to hear back.

> 	MPL + GPL dual licensing (can be incorporated into closed-source
> 		programs, BSD-style for the code itself, GPL dual license
> 		provides compatibility)
> 	QPL + GPL (similar to MPL + GPL, but requires distribution of
> 		patches only, not modified versions)
> 	David Brownell's license + GPL (not yet officially OSI-compliant,
> 		similar to QPL + GPL, specifically designed for Java)
> The importance of the GPL-compatible requirement is that the majority of
> open source software is GPL.  Code whose sole license is incompatible
> with the GPL (MPL, QPL, e.g.) cannot be used in such programs.
> As the author, though, you can license your code in two different ways
> even though they are incompatible.

As I understand it, code with a *less* restrictive license can be
included in a GPL'd program (i.e. SAX1, which is Public Domain) -- is
that not always the case?

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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