Linuxsampler license again, was Re: [linux-audio-user] nice piano

Paul Winkler pw_lists at
Fri Dec 15 16:32:58 EST 2006

Can I please be allowed to mention linuxsampler on the
linux-audio-user list without the thread devolving into Yet Another
License Argument? Please change the subject line. Thank you.


On Fri, Dec 15, 2006 at 11:24:51AM -0700, Garett Shulman wrote:
> Lars Luthman wrote:
> >On Fri, 2006-12-15 at 11:07 -0700, Garett Shulman wrote:
> >  
> >>Lars Luthman wrote:
> >>    
> >>>On Fri, 2006-12-15 at 17:40 +0000, James Stone wrote:
> >>>  
> >>>      
> >>>>>I hate to be a jerk and crap on someone's project, but this is a
> >>>>>clear violation of the GPL.  Here's some GPL FAQs that explain this:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>>Software freedom zero requires that a program be usable for any
> >>>>>purpose whatsoever with no restrictions or limitations.  Of course if
> >>>>>I produce a hardware device that uses a modified LinuxSampler, my
> >>>>>modifications are required to be free software.
> >>>>>      
> >>>>>          
> >>>>I agree it is a shame LS is not Free Software, but it is free as
> >>>>in beer, and open source, and is a really nice piece of
> >>>>programming.
> >>>>    
> >>>>        
> >>>I'm not so sure that it is open source as it stands now. Paragraph 7 of
> >>>the GPL says:
> >>>
> >>>"If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
> >>>infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
> >>>conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
> >>>otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
> >>>excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute
> >>>so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and
> >>>any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not
> >>>distribute the Program at all."
> >>>
> >>>So if you are not allowed to distribute LinuxSampler for commercial
> >>>purposes you are not allowed to distribute it at all. I'm sure this is
> >>>not what the LinuxSampler people intend, but as the license stands now
> >>>it is inconsistent and, according to paragraph 7 of the GPL, invalid -
> >>>which means that normal copyright law applies, without any extra
> >>>freedoms at all.
> >>>
> >>>But you are right that this has been discussed to death several times
> >>>already, and if the LinuxSampler authors haven't fixed the license by
> >>>now they are probably not going to do it in the forseeable future
> >>>either. I withdraw from the discussion.
> >>>
> >>>  
> >>>      
> >>Well... If LS links to GPL code that it's authors do not own the 
> >>copyright to than this is true. However, as a copyright owner of code 
> >>that does not link to any GPL code you are free to release software 
> >>under absolutely whatever license you choose... including 'almost 
> >>exactly GPL but with x, y, & z differences'. Trolltech licesenses their 
> >>code under two different licenses, GPL, & a non-GPL license. But because 
> >>they own the copyright to their code this is not a problem.
> >>    
> >
> >I don't mean that they are violating any license themselves, they are of
> >course allowed to do whatever they want with the code that they wrote. I
> >mean that the current license (GPL + inconsistent add-on) can be
> >interpreted as saying that no one is allowed to distribute LinuxSampler
> >at all except the people that already have that right without any
> >licensing (the authors).
> >
> >  
> Oh... I see. Hm... That's interesting.


Paul Winkler

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