[Bf-committers] extension clause

Ton Roosendaal ton at blender.org
Mon Nov 15 15:54:56 CET 2010

Hi David,

So the issue is not the license itself, but the perception? The latter  
is something we can work on by cooperating with companies and give  
them more confidence. After all, our code license is not controlled by  
the FSF (considered untrusted?), but by BF and a large amount of  
individual copyright holders. This "compilation copyright" also acts  
as a conservative force. The BF can't 'sell out', nor make decisions  
on licenses without full consensus of almost every active contributor.

It also makes it a very difficult target to change our license. :)

To Alex Combas (and others): the fact Blender uses one of the  
strictest OS licenses has benefited us too. Contributors can keep  
their own copyrights, and market or spread their own contributions  
totally free. In that sense anyone contributing to Blender is well  
protected to define their own rights. If we would switch to BSD, any  
cool contribution then could show up in commercial apps immediately.


Ton Roosendaal  Blender Foundation   ton at blender.org    www.blender.org
Blender Institute   Entrepotdok 57A  1018AD Amsterdam   The Netherlands

On 14 Nov, 2010, at 2:19, David Jeske wrote:

> I think my post was mis-interpreted. I'm not trying to discuss the  
> point of
> commercially distributed binary extensions.
> I am sharing the information, that at least in Silicon Valley,  
> companies I'm
> aware of DO NOT feel comfortable linking their propritary source to  
> GPL even
> if they plan never to distribute it. Whether this is a correct  
> interpretion
> of GPL is not relevant. It may be that these companies wish to operate
> "beyond any chance of license infringement", or that their lawyers  
> are just
> too paranoid, or that they feel they ultimately can't control these  
> types of
> nuances enough to assure code they are using never gets released.  
> However,
> the facts are the facts. If you doubt this fact, I encourage you to  
> talk to
> employees of larger silicon valley companies that would be the type  
> to use a
> tool like Blender. It doesn't take long to discover specific  
> situations
> where they have made choices to avoid this kind of GPL-contamination  
> risk.
> Please avoid the temptation to jump into a debate about whether this  
> is a
> correct interpretion of the GPL. We are not lawyers, and the GPL has  
> never
> truly been tested this way in courts. More to the point, the answer  
> to this
> debate is irrelevant. If companies don't feel comfortable because of
> _percieved_ GPL contamination risk, then they don't feel comfortable.
> Users producing content within these companies make up the majority of
> potential users for a tool like Blender. If companies could not use  
> Linux,
> gcc, Mysql, or other similar tools without this fear, those tools  
> would not
> have succeeded as they have. Fortunately for those tools, the  
> conservative
> interpretation of the GPL provides enough functionality... That  
> is... if you
> don't link with it, and you don't depend on it's behavior  
> specifically, then
> you are safe.
> Let's consider another open-source component that does require  
> people to
> link with it. libc. It is specifically licensed under LGPL to  
> prevent this
> kind of contamination risk. Any changes to libc must be shared, but  
> users
> are free to link without fear of GPL contamination. By building an  
> licensed "extension api", users would be free to link, without fear of
> contamination.
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