One thing I'd like to do for GeoServer and GeoWebCache is a FLOSS exception. See
I'd hate to see an open source project not get the advantages of the projects. The FLOSS exception makes it ok for a BSD project to make use and integrate with GPL software. Amos - if you need us to move on this let me know and I'd be happy to push on it. But we want to encourage open source software, and to have it built on our software.
For commercial software we'd like to see something flow back in to the code, and keep the GPL so that companies can't just use all our work and profit greatly off of it with nothing going back. But we're working on setting up dual licensing so we can issue it under a commercial license to those who share the revenue they're making off of it.
There are tons of good debates regarding BSD vs (L)GPL on the internet.
I do not think it would be fruitful to repeat them here, people have
presumably already read one or two and decided which one they believe in
(or neither). I've yet to see a convincing study with a numerical
comparison of the success rates of the projects. I like both, but for
projects such as GWC I *personally* find GPL more approriate.
The reason is that a single company has made a substantial investment
(even disregarding funded work) into this code and taken a fair amount
of risk. If the code was licensed under BSD, it would be trivial for the
big GIS vendors (most of whom currently lack such a product) to snap it
up, rebrand and push through their sales channels, which are much larger
They can still do that, it's open source after all, but the license at
least ensures that people will be informed there is an open source
version underneath and it will give the GWC community access to
improvements built on top of the existing codebase. You can summarize
the (L)GPL as "give back under my exact terms", but I find "share your
improvements the way I shared the bulk with you" to be a more
We started with LGPL because GWC was meant to be a plugin for GeoServer.
But it was easier to debug and develop as a separate application, GPL
became the more natural license (this decision is about a year old by
now, time flies). All the source code has had LGPLv3 headers since the
start, so that's effectively the current license.
To be completely honest, I had forgotten that I had changed the homepage
to read GPL until it was brought up today, it hasn't been a high priority.
1) I am very much interested in suggestions on how we can improve the
2) If you really need to use GWC or GS under a different license, you
can discuss dual-licensing with The Open Planning Project. I would also
be interested in hearing about licensing problems off list.
Amos Hayes wrote:
> Hi Arne.
> I used to have a soft spot for the "force things to open up" creativity behind the GPL license. Unfortunately, it is actually quite restrictive to projects that attempt to be *more* open than GPL. Our code is all released under a BSD license and we have had to seek alternatives to using GPL code when it is to be closely integrated. Now that there is so much open source, so many tools to help communities form, and great enthusiasm for contributing, the GPL "give back under my exact terms" rule is actually causing more problems than it solves. "Truly open" licenses are becoming more common. In my opinion, if you want contributions back, it's more effective to provide good collaboration tools, review contributions quickly, and with any luck, outpace the development of anyone's closed fork.
> I'm actually surprised that GWC is going GPL. Is there an issue you are trying to address with the switch?
> Amos Hayes
> Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre
> Carleton University
> On 2010-01-06, at 12:39 PM, Arne Kepp wrote:
>> Where did you read that GeoServer 2.0 is LGPL?
>> It's GPL (version 2.0, to be specific) and there has not been any
>> discussion of LGPLing it, so you will face exactly the same "problems"
>> with GWC as you currently do with GS. GWC's license is effectively
>> LGPLv3 at this point, but will be relicensed to GPL sooner or later.
>> I started soliciting feedback from the community, got no objections, but
>> the got stuck because of the GeoServer integration and v3 vs v2 issues.
>> Maybe we'll just drop back to GPLv2. Either way, I updated the webpage
>> early to give developers like you a fair warning.
>> If by "standard interfaces" you mean HTTP calls, such as WMS, then I
>> believe you can distribute these as you like. Just present the GPLv2
>> license as part of the installation routine (the disclaimer is
>> important) and point to where the user can get the source code.
>> ajayr wrote:
>>> I have been using the older version of Geowebcache (when the licensing was
>>> LGPL) in a closed source product. I am interested in upgrading to the latest
>>> version of geowebcache. But I noticed that the liceinsing has now become
>>> My question is this:
>>> 1. does using geowebcache in the server mode prevent me from distributing
>>> the product?
>>> ( I know geoserver has GPL licensing but I can distribute it as long as i do
>>> not make any modifications to geoserver in terms of adding plugins, etc.
>>> i.e. as long as i work behind the standard geoserver interfaces. )
>>> 2. I think that geoserver 2.0 and above is now LGPL, so if i use geowebcache
>>> with geoserver does that mess with geowebcache licensing when i distribute
>>> the product?
>>> Appreciate any info in this regard
>> Arne Kepp
>> OpenGeo - http://opengeo.org
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