Given the recent news about the GPL, I wanted to ask about the viability of switching to the GPL v3. Below is an e-mail I sent to Jeff Chandler at WPTavern (where the WordPress Weekly podcast is released):
Recently the GPL was discussed on your amazing podcast, to which I am a subscriber. Anyhow, my question is about the GPL and what it means for me as a developer of other open source software (I’ve made two WordPress plugins as well, but that’s not the focus of my question).
According to a page on the WordPress.org site (http://wordpress.org/about/gpl/), the WordPress project is released under the GPL version 2. I’m in the process of developing an open source project that is released under the Apache License 2.0, which is, according to the Free Software Foundation (http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html#GPLCompatibleLicenses) is compatible with only GPL version 3, which is in turn incompatible with GPL v2.
That means that I can’t safely repurpose code from WordPress for my project, which isn’t commercial in nature or even in the same field as WordPress. What do you (and perhaps your show’s listeners) think about the incompatibility of the GPL v2 with liberal open source licenses? I know Matt Mullenweg is a hardcore supporter of the freedoms granted by the GPL, but is it possible that these freedoms are better supported with the newer version of the license (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/rms-why-gplv3.html)?
Thanks for hosting and publishing such an informative show.
I thank Jeff for his response, in which I was advised, “…I highly suggest sending Matt Mullenweg an email with what you provided me as the chances are pretty good that he’ll respond (eventually).”
I thought I’d pose that question to the forums first. What do other members of the WordPress community think about compatibility with liberal open source licenses — and more importantly, using the GNU Public License version 3?
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