[webkit-dev] licensing question

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Thu Feb 4 08:20:52 PST 2010

On Feb 3, 2010, at 8:25 PM, Chris Jerdonek wrote:

> Quick question: if we would like to check in third-party code and it
> is not obviously "BSD-style" (at least to me), what is the process for
> checking whether the license is okay and clearing the license?
> The WebKit Committer Guidelines say, "This means that you should
> verify that each source file contains either a copy of the BSD or LGPL
> text, or a license header stating that it is governed by either such
> license. All other licenses are not acceptable unless cleared by Apple
> in writing."

If this is absolutely critical, we can try to review the license. The following points should be considered:

- Any different license would have to be compatible with the LGPL. Do you know of any previous opinions on whether the license is LGPL-compatible? For example the FSF has a breakdown of many free software licenses. Note, the LGPL doesn't allow any additional restrictions beyond those the LGPL itself makes, so any license with "interesting" terms is likely to be incompatible.

- If you can at all avoid putting this code in the repository you should. For example, if it's a Python or Perl module it could just get downloaded on demand from the original source. Even if a new license is LGPL-compatible, we would prefer not to make it more complicated to explain WebKit's license terms.


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