[quagga-dev 11482] Re: non-GPL code calling and depending on GPL libzebra

Alexis Rosen quagga-users at alexis.users.panix.com
Thu Sep 11 08:22:43 BST 2014

On Sep 11, 2014, at 2:56 AM, Paul Jakma <paul at jakma.org> wrote:
> [...]
> If code A is distributed under, e.g., a BSD licence, then this would not conform with the GPL licence applicable to it, as the BSD licence is not compatible with the GPL in this way[2].
> That is my understanding of things. I havn't had reason till now to think it was wildly off the mark. It'd be useful to hear of very concrete legal opinion to the contrary.
> Next, I'm curious what issues could arise if Quagga started distributing a daemon under a BSD licence, with that daemon calling libzebra. If my understanding above is correct, is this just a triviality that can be ignored? What are the consequences to Quagga? Are there consequences for others?

IANAL, and I'm sure others will have more to say about this, but in short, source code is not subject to the requirements you're stating above. As long as the GPL code is distributed in accordance with the GPL requirements (source availability, etc.), you can also distribute anything else you'd like, under any license you'd like. (It goes further than this - you can distribute nonGPL binaries too, if you're very careful about how - for example, various Linux distros distribute proprietary driver blobs.)

There is no reason Quagga can't distribute BSD-licensed daemons along with the GPL ones. They just have to be separate trees. (Actually, I think they don't even have to be separate trees, but anything more commingled is inviting disaster down the road.)


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