[Qgis-developer] QIGS GPL -> LGPL - Tigers, Lions and Bears Oh My!

Nathan Woodrow madmanwoo at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 00:38:07 EST 2011

I would like, if I may, raise the topic of the current licensing of QGIS.  One
thing I have been thinking about lately is if we should change the licence
from GPL to LGPL.  I understand the motivation to use GPL at the start, as
Qt was only GPL but now that it is LPGL that is no longer an issue.

I raise this issue because I believe in order grow/improve the project
letting people build and sell apps built on top of QGIS would be a great
way to get support and development for/into the project.  I have had a few
companies I have talked to here in Australia saying they are interested in
QGIS and that deploying solutions built onto the QGIS libs would
possibility be a good move for them (and me as a client), but then I think
that QGIS is GPL and that kills their business model.

Projects like PostGIS and uDig are all under the LGPL and seem to get along
fine in this regard.  A sub department in the state government here builds
custom solutions on top of uDig, they don’t sell their software (ASFIK) but
there is nothing stopping them from doing so.

>From my understanding of the LGPL. If someone takes the QGIS libs and
builds an app on it, they are allowed to sell their product and not release
the code however if they make any changes to QGIS then they have to release
the changes.  To me this is a WIN-WIN situation.  We can keep QGIS
open/free and still stop people selling a modified version of QGIS as their
own but people can still build apps to sell to clients; at the same time if
Company A starts building onto QGIS and runs into a issue (say lack of rule
based labels) I think they would be more likely to support that development
as it helps their bottom line.

 While I can see the use of GPL, and I’m all for free all the way up and
down (in a perfect world), if I was a business owner looking to invest in a
product I wouldn’t touch it. Where as I would be happy to build onto
something like uDig (not that I’m going to) knowing that I can sell my
solution, giving the clients what they want, but not having to open my code


P.S I am aware that licensing is a nothing topic that can cause flame wars,
so play nice ;)

- Nathan
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