[Mono-list] The viral license problem (was System.CodeDom.Compiler licensing issues)

Garrett Serack gserack@experientia.org
Thu, 23 May 2002 14:16:10 -0600

Wow. I certainly touched off a discussion here :)

Brad Wilson wrote:

>Daniel Carrera wrote:
>>Yes, but the GPL is not any more "viral" than a license from Microsoft
>>which limits your ability to use their code (e.g. their shared source
>I disagree. The Microsoft license says you can't use their stuff for
>commercial use, but it makes no additional requirements of any code that
>links to them. The GPL says that by merely linking, you now must make your
>own code GPL. That is specifically the problem in discussion here.
Um, *Personally* when I write code I intend to open-source there are a 
couple of different questions I have before choosing a license.  If I 
want the code to be used, as much as possible, and I'm not concerned 
with the with what people intend to make of it, I tend to fall to the 
BSD (and like ) licenses.  My Embeddable Scripting for Applications 
(ESA) project is done with that in mind. Essentially, I'm getting tired 
of answering questions about the scripting technology in MS's poorly 
documented VSA technology, that I'm opening up that code that I'm 
writing for others to use. That, and I'm less than thrilled with Summit 
Software's rather heavy handed requirements for even evaluating the VSIP 
Scripting Engine, and I wanted to provide that for free.

On the other hand, technology that I think is neat, but more of a 
complete product, I'd release as GPL, so that others don't just take and 
run. :p

>>This is why the GPL is almost never used for libraries.  Under Linux,
>>libraries are usually LGPL or X11.  That way linking is allowed.
>Right. And the problem is that the line beteween executable (C# compiler)
>and library (System.CodeDOM) is blurred now. The compiler is GPL, not LGPL.
>>I can't think of a single library that has this GPL problem you describe.
>Until now, potentially...
Um Yeah!

I really was hoping the compiler was at least LGPL rather GPL.  I'm 
building something I expect people to include in their own projects, 
regardless whether it's a Opensource project or not. (as my primary goal 
is to get folks to use the ESA project for their own needs), and to have 
it eventually run on .NET, mono and whatever else it will.

At most I'm looking for a bit of recognition.

So, I guess I do have a problem. I'd like to add a C# compiler to the 
scripting engine, that could be embedded into an application. *Without* 
making (a) my own library GPL and (b) the target application GPL.  I 
think that this sort of thing would be a nice complement to the mono 
project as a whole.

Is there going to be a way I can resolve this? Special License? Get the 
mono C# compiler license changed?

I'm a bit confusled as to why the Compiler itself needs to be GPL'd 
anyway... I mean is there a *fear* that someone may take it, extend it 
and make it commercial without releasing the code to it? Really? I can't 
see how someone would. Seems a little unlikely.