Solved Using GPL with BSD code?

bsdunix

New Member


Messages: 4

Hi,

I'm a long term fan of FreeBSD. I haven't used it in years (since 4.7 to be exact) but I hope this will change in the very near future. I have learned so much in the past years that I think it's time to become active and help the open source community, that includes FreeBSD. I'm more familiar with the Linux architecture but I want to dig deeper into FreeBSD as well. I hope to contribute one day in the form of patches, bug fixes and perhaps even develop something.

What I would like to know is whether it's possible to release software using FreeBSD code or software made for FreeBSD (read: LKM) as GPL and not BSD? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I don't understand how legal stuff works. Basically what I'm asking is if I make a kernel module for FreeBSD, can I release it using a GPL license instead of a BSD license?

Thanks,
Mark
 

kpa

Beastie's Twin

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You can't do that because with the BSD license comes an irrevocable right to do anything you want to do with the code as long as you comply with the terms of the license. GPL restricts those rights by requiring that you publish your modifications to the original source and that point alone is in direct conflict with the BSD license.
 

wblock@

Beastie Himself
Developer

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Well, code an individual creates can be released it under any license they like. Patches and updates to FreeBSD itself will almost certainly not be accepted without a BSD license. Add-on applications or even kernel modules can be licensed however the author likes, but again, will need to be BSD licensed to be included in FreeBSD itself.

It might seem obvious, but another question that comes up often: you cannot relicense code that is not yours, like changing the license of FreeBSD itself.
 
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bsdunix

bsdunix

New Member


Messages: 4

I just wanted to confirm that. Thanks a lot, you can close the thread as my question has been answered.
 

wblock@

Beastie Himself
Developer

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Sorry, I got side-tracked, but meant to mention that many applications in ports have GPL or other licenses. They work fine with FreeBSD and are commonly used, they just are not part of FreeBSD itself.
 
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bsdunix

bsdunix

New Member


Messages: 4

I just wanted to know whether it's possible to make something for FreeBSD but release it as GPL, that's all. Thanks again everyone for your time.
 

NewGuy

Well-Known Member

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Messages: 301

I just wanted to know whether it's possible to make something for FreeBSD but release it as GPL, that's all. Thanks again everyone for your time.

You can create a project that runs on FreeBSD and license it under the GPL. However, it is highly unlikely any GPLed code will ever make it into the FreeBSD operating system itself. Your project would have to act as a third-party add-on or a port.

In other words, if you make an application for FreeBSD, you can license it under the GPL. But you probably should not try to license a kernel module or other basic system component under the GPL as GPLed code won't be accepted into the FreeBSD source tree.
 
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