[Dune] Fwd: Dune and license issues

Peter Bastian peter.bastian at iwr.uni-heidelberg.de
Fri Apr 23 13:28:43 CEST 2010

Dear all,

I forward here a question of Atgeirr concerning the licensing of Dune.
Since also other users might have their opinion, could we please discuss
this on the list?



Anfang der weitergeleiteten E-Mail:

> Von: Atgeirr Flø Rasmussen <atgeirr at sintef.no>
> Datum: 22. April 2010 15:12:02 MESZ
> An: Peter Bastian <Peter.Bastian at iwr.uni-heidelberg.de>
> Betreff: Dune and license issues
> Dear Peter,
> I need to write to you about the licensing of Dune, since we are now involved in a number of projects which will produce new OPM software. A recurring issue is, under what license should we release the software produced? There is strong sentiment that GPL version 3 is the best choice, since among other things it protects better against patents being used to make the software non-free. In general, it is a modernized and updated version (from 2007)  and covers possibilities not thought of in the older license (from 1991). This is my own opinion, and also, I think, that of Statoil.
> The software we have already produced, dune-cornerpoint, is already released under this license.
> However, it is quite clear that GPL v3 is incompatible with GPL v2, under which Dune is released. See for example http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#AllCompatibility for a compatibility matrix. Downstream users are therefore not permitted to combine Dune and dune-cornerpoint!
> However, the exception clause seems to (I am no lawyer...) allow this, as long as we do not modify Dune (which we used to do, but no longer). So there may not really be a big problem. However, having various different licenses and complicated interactions between them is not optimal.
> This issue would not exist if either:
> 1) dune-cornerpoint [and new software we make] is licensed under GPL v2 (but we would like to avoid this for the above reasons).
> 2) The Dune license is changed to say "version 2 or any later version". This is a common occurrence, and is intended precisely to ease such license issues. It does require some trust in the Free Software Foundation, though.
> 3) The Dune license is changed to GPL v3 plus (possibly new) exception.
> I hope the second option is doable, and does not needlessly involve hundreds of University lawyers and boards of directors... I do not wish to cause a great amount of work for anybody! I guess that the professors involved are allowed to decide this? If not, it may not be feasible to change.
> Finally, it is worth noting that libstdc++ has transferred to GPL v3 plus a new exception clause:
> http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/libstdc++/manual/license.html
> So the claim that the Dune license is a clone of the libstdc++ one (on the Dune webpage) is no longer quite correct.
> Sincerely Yours,
> Atgeirr

Peter Bastian
Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen
Universität Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 368
D-69120 Heidelberg
Tel: 0049 (0) 6221 548261
Fax: 0049 (0) 6221 548884
email: peter.bastian at iwr.uni-heidelberg.de
web: http://conan.iwr.uni-heidelberg.de/people/peter/

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