LinuxSampler license, was Re: [linux-audio-dev] fst, VST 2.0, kontakt

Dave Robillard drobilla at
Sun Jul 2 14:45:57 UTC 2006

On Sun, 2006-07-02 at 08:24 -0400, Dave Phillips wrote:
> Something from the source :
> Christian Schoenebeck wrote on 9 Sept 2005:
> "Anyway, about the mentioned commercial exception in general: you can assume 
> all current tarball releases of LS (up to and including 0.3.3) to be under 
> pure GPL. It was already released as pure GPL and is already included in many 
> distributions as pure GPL software, so don't worry about that.
> However we thought about changing the license in future to one which is more 
> restrictive about commercial usage and we already placed those commercial 
> exception notes just to be sure.
> The idea about such a possible new license was to allow "direct" commercial 
> usage of LS only if the commercial actor supported this or another 
> (important) open source project either directly by contributing code or 
> indirectly by funding the respective project. So somebody who supported e.g. 
> the GCC, ALSA or Jack Audio Connection Kit project might also be allowed to 
> use LS commercially. "Commercial usage" would of course only mean products 
> based on LS, it would of course not mean using LS e.g. for commercial music 
> production or something. Such a license wouldn't mean anything negative for 
> the user, but might "motivate" or force ;) more people to contribute to this 
> or another open source project, so personally I would find such a license 
> more beneficial (than GPL for example) for the open source community in 
> general.
> Unfortunately I haven't found an existing open source license which would 
> reflect those restrictions. Some even said this wouldn't be an open source 
> license according to definitions of XY, but personally I think it would. So 
> maybe we would have to write a new license, like a "Participation License" or 
> something which might also be used by other projects in future of course.

It sounds like the LS devs don't want people _selling_ LS?  That's not
what "commercial use" means (I'm not sure what "direct" commercial usage
is supposed to mean).  Commercial USE it just that - using the software
commercially, eg. to produce an album for sale.  The exception needs to
be reworded to refer specifically to sale.  Point is this REALLY needs
to be clarified.  If using LS on commercial albums etc. isn't intended
to be against the terms, the phrase "commercial use" should be removed

Though as far as being more beneficial, I really don't think LS being
less widely distributed and not in any distributions because it's not
OSS is going to benefit anyone, especially since it's a project with so
much potential to replace a closed app with an open one (that runs in
Linux).  Try and fudge the definition of 'open source' all you want, but
a project with such an exception will definitely never be included in
any of the major distributions, and that just hurts "us".


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