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From Marvin Humphrey <>
Subject More on multi-licensed dependencies
Date Thu, 29 Mar 2012 23:22:10 GMT
On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM, Roy T. Fielding <> wrote:
> On Mar 29, 2012, at 4:07 PM, Fabian Christ wrote:

>> I am following all these discussions for doing a first release of
>> Apache Stanbol (incubating) but get totally confused. According to
>> you have to choose the license and include only the license that you
>> have chosen.
> The answer in that document is wrong.  I believe what they meant to say is
> that we only include one of the licenses in the text/pointers of our
> product-wide LICENSE file.  Mainly for dual-licensed GPL.

Wait, wait...  If we only put the permissive license of a dual-licensed
dependency into LICENSE, aren't we doing what you warned against earlier?

    A project does not choose a license.  The license is provided by the
    copyright owner.  We do not change that license, nor do we reduce the
    number of the available licenses to choose from, for downstream
    recipients.  Therefore, it doesn't make any sense to indicate which one is

This is what makes sense to me, as it is consistent with both our dev
documentation and the HTTPD LICENSE file:

    * The ASF releases packages consisting primarily of IP licensed to
      the Foundation by contributors and available under the ALv2.
    * These packages may bundle dependencies under various licenses whose
      terms do not conflict with the ALv2.
    * The top-level LICENSE file communicates *all* licensing information
      for the complete, heterogenously-licensed package, including the
      licenses for all dependencies, no matter how deeply nested.

With that definition for LICENSE in mind, and with the new admonition that we
must not "choose" between the licenses of multi-licensed dependencies, here is
some proposed sample text:

    Apache Foo bundles the CommonWidgets library in extras/common_widgets,
    which is available both under the "MIT" license and the GPLv2:

        [Full text of MIT license, including embedded copyright notice.]

        [Full text of GPLv2]

Embedding complete license texts in LICENSE may be verbose, but that is how it
is done right now.

Marvin Humphrey

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