[OpenLayers-Dev] XMLHttpRequest.js license

christopher.schmidt at nokia.com christopher.schmidt at nokia.com
Wed Apr 21 09:15:44 EDT 2010

On Apr 21, 2010, at 7:59 AM, ext Paul Spencer wrote:

> Bart,
> based on my experience in other projects, it should be sufficient to include this in a comment at the top of XMLHttpRequest.js with a brief explanation of the issue and then we should be good to go.
> For the record, I am wondering why it is a problem to include LGPL code in OpenLayers if it is used as a Library (unmodified)?  Roald's remark just seems to be that we *might* have a GPL infringement, that doesn't seem terribly convincing to me that there is a problem that we should be concerned about by including LGPL code.  Can anyone elaborate on whether this is actually a problem, what the problem is, or if there is not, in actual fact, a problem with including LGPL code.

OpenLayers is a BSD-licensed library. Thus far, it includes no code that is not BSD licensed. By including LGPL code, we turn it from a BSD licensed library into a BSD + LGPL library. I believe the problem with Javascript is similar to that in Java -- it doesn't have a 'linking'-like mechanism for which the LGPL applies (or if it does, we're certainly not using it in OpenLayers), see:


The section 6 he's talking about is in the LGPL v2.1:


Which says, at the start:

"As an exception to the Sections above, you may also combine or link a "work that uses the Library" with the Library to produce a work containing portions of the Library, and distribute that work under terms of your choice, provided that the terms permit modification of the work for the customer's own use and reverse engineering for debugging such modifications."

And a number of other interesting things *after* that, which would significantly impact OpenLayers users if it were to apply to them.

It is possible that LGPL licensed code may not be subject to these restrictions in some way, but I can't understand how these restrictions wouldn't apply to our use of libraries like XMLHttpRequest in OpenLayers, and it seems that they would make OpenLayers usage more limited (even if it doesn't actually make the library itself "LGPL", which I won't claim). 

Overall, I feel that this would be a step backwards for OpenLayers, and not one I'm interested in moving towards without further discussion.

Best Regards,
Christopher Schmidt 

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