Should Wine move to LGPL 3?

Ian Macfarlane ian at
Fri Jul 13 08:44:08 CDT 2007

I've been meaning to ask about this since (L)GPL3 was released.

The version 3 of the (L)GPL license has numerous benefits:

- It's much more legally sound in the rest of the world (IMO one of
the most important factors about the new license) - numerous reasons
for this e.g. referencing WIPO rather than US laws.

- It has an explicit patent agreement (really an extension of the
above - (L)GPLv2 has an implicit patent agreement, but this is only
valid in the US) - this means that people who contribute to and/or
distribute WINE cannot sue WINE (or WINE users) for patent

- It is compatible with the Apache 2.0 license, meaning that there is
an even bigger pool of source code to draw from.

- It helps ensure that companies cannot prevent people from modifying
the source code by providing them explicit legal rights to change the
code in these circumstances, and requiring information to allow users
to change it.

- For LGPL only, It makes 100% sure that GPL+linking exception and
LGPL can be combined legally in all jurisdictions by merging them
(which is essentially the only real difference, barring slightly
different wording in the v2.1 of LGPL vs v2. of GPL)

- It prevents patent agreements where only some people are protected.

- It provides a mechanism for first-time accidental violations to be
'cured' more easily

- ... and lots of other minor changes to improve the validity of the
legal status of the license.

There are some points not directly related to the license itself that
might be of interest:

- Samba has decided to become GPL3+ only, as they want the added
protections provided by the license. WINE and Samba seem like projects
that may potentially wish to share code (a very quick search brings up
articles like this, and if WINE
sticks to supporting GPLv2+ rather than GPLv3+, then WINE will no
longer be able to integrate Samba code.

- Solaris may go GPLv3, another potentially useful repository of code
to draw from that would not be possible under GPLv2.

So as you can see, (L)GPL version 3 has a lot of benefits. It also has
broad support (excluding Linus of course, who I must point out objects
only to a single clause in the license that can be resolved by adding
an extra permission, as GPLv3 permits), including strong corporate
backing (e.g. IBM, Red Hat, MySQL, Sun, even Novell). As one of the
projects that Microsoft would most like to destroy, the added
protections in this updated version of the license would seem even
more valuable.

Kind regards,

Ian Macfarlane

ps: As a last note to Damjan - all GPL versions have been considered
both radical and political when they were released. In retrospect, the
protections that they provided have been considered invaluable.

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