dual licensing for libbusybox

Rob Landley rob at landley.net
Thu Mar 2 00:41:59 UTC 2006

On Wednesday 01 March 2006 6:33 pm, Mike Frysinger wrote:
> with support being added for a shared busybox library, there is the "small"
> issue of the new libbusybox being under the GPL ... i'm not sure if this is
> intended, and if it is, then this thread can die now :)

Well, it's certainly expected.  I mentioned it earlier.

> i dont think it'd be such a bad idea keeping busybox source under the GPL,
> but allowing people to link against libbusybox itself in a LGPL style ...
> thoughts ?

A) We'd have to track down every contributor and get permission.
B) Do we want to export a stable, documented API?

If we just export a stable and documented API, then people who link against 
the API aren't necessarily derived works of our code.  (They're derived works 
of our API.  The implementation could be anything.)

Keep in mind that the linux-kernel headers are all GPL (not LGPL), and yet 
every binary in the world #includes them, without necessarily becoming GPL.  
How do they get away with that?  Simple, people program to books, man pages, 
standards like POSIX.  Thus their code is not a derived work of the linux 
kernel, so what license the kernel is under is irrelevant.

So we're not in a position to re-license libbb, but we could probably document 
an API.  I'm not sure that's a good idea though, since then _we_ wouldn't be 
able to arbitrarily break it, and we may still want to.

> -mike

Never bet against the cheap plastic solution.

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