Random rants and thoughts about my activities in and for the Free Software community.

The LGPL is good for you

I love the GNU Lesser GPL (LGPL).  Actually, I love the fact that FSF has offered the choice of two licenses: GPL and LGPL.

They are both full free software licenses, with the difference being the strength of its copyleft protection.  Business-wise the LGPL offers a tactical weapon to companies like Engineering, developer of the business intelligence suite SpagoBI (LGPL-ed) to compete on the market. 

To understand the tactical value of the LGPL I quote Richard Stallman’s words:

Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every [circumstance]. There are reasons that can make it better to use the Lesser GPL in certain cases. [...][When] the library cannot give free software any particular advantage, [...] it is better to use the Lesser GPL for that library.

And it’s always worth remembering that FSF has adopted the LGPL with a tactical move itself:

This is why we used the Lesser GPL for the GNU C library. After all, there are plenty of other C libraries.

Does it make sense to use LGPL for Business Intelligence suites like SpagoBI? I think so, and mostly it depends on the business model that the company is using.  I think that the important discriminator for a real Free Software Business is not the license it choses or its business model, but its ethical stance for freedom in the digital society.

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