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

Dave Phillips dlphillips at
Sun Jul 2 18:37:57 UTC 2006

Andreas Kuckartz wrote:

>Dave Phillips or Christian Schoenebeck wrote:

My apologies, the text is Christian's I forgot an end-quote. Just to be 
complete, here's the entire message, including Matt Flax's original query :

Am Montag, 5. September 2005 04:40 schrieb Matt Flax:

>> Hello,
>> This person brought up an issue where the GPL is tainted by something
>> written in one of the README files.
>> IT is important for free software distributions such ad Debian that if
>> you use a free software license you don't taint it ... I think they are
>> concerned that you are trying to stop commercial use of Linux Sampler,
>> even if the commercial product is GPL based.
>> Is it possible to reword the below to :
>> "This software is distributed under the GNU General Public License (see
>> COPYING file), and may not be used in non GPL based or non GPL
>> commercial applications without asking the authors for permission."

[Christian's response starts here:]

I'm not a license / GPL expert, but wouldn't that sentence simply be 
redundant? I mean the GPL forces all derived work to be under GPL as well, 
doesn't it?

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 

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.

Anyway, no decision is made as of today. But would be interesting to know what 
you people think of it!


SF.Net email is Sponsored by the Better Software Conference & EXPO
September 19-22, 2005 * San Francisco, CA * Development Lifecycle Practices
Agile & Plan-Driven Development * Managing Projects & Teams * Testing & QA
Security * Process Improvement & Measurement *
Linuxsampler-devel mailing list
Linuxsampler-devel at

More information about the Linux-audio-dev mailing list