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LGPL attribution

This is a discussion on LGPL attribution within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I think I might have a misunderstanding of free software licenses, or then again I might not. I am a ...

  1. #1
    Epy
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    LGPL attribution

    I think I might have a misunderstanding of free software licenses, or then again I might not.

    I am a somewhat frequent contributor to library "x", which is a fork from library "y". Both are licensed LGPL v2.1. We make it pretty clear that our work is a derivative from the original; basically that our library is a set of patches over the most current version of the original library. We also still have the original copyright notices in each file for the original authors of each file.

    Recently I discovered that of course the original project is taking a lot of our changes back up into their code. They have not given any attribution of any kind of that their code includes code from our project. Doesn't this constitute a violation of the LGPL? Even permissive licenses like the BSD licenses require you to keep the original author's copyright notice intact, giving some attribution.

    I'm not looking to sue or anything, but this original library is owned by a commercial entity. If other people are going to make money off my bugfixes and contributions, I at least want some attribution for it.

  2. #2
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    O_o

    I would say the "per-file" Copyright information is of extreme importance. I will not rant, and I do not offer any legal advice, but at least let me say that without this exchange/documentation of Copyright information "upstream" and "downstream" may find the code "impossible" to license.

    You should definitely discuss the issue with "upstream". Of course, you should play to proper respect such as discussing it first in private, but you shouldn't be afraid to discuss the issue.

    If the project is packaged by Debian, possibly Arch/Slackware, you should also notify the package maintainers. Again, you should show proper respect to the upstream developers first with private communication, but you should make those contacts irrespective of the results with "upstream".

    Soma
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  3. #3
    Epy
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    Lucky for me then our de facto project leader is also the Debian package maintainer.

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    It's possible they just forgot. Begin with a polite communication, like phantomotap said.

    I like my ego stroked as much as the next guy, but really, you ought to be happy that the upstream finds your changes valuable enough to adopt in their own line. In a way it is doing you a huge favor, because when they adopt one of your changes you no longer have to reintegrate every time they turn another point release.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

  5. #5
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I like my ego stroked as much as the next guy, but really, you ought to be happy that the upstream finds your changes valuable enough to adopt in their own line.
    O_o

    I appreciate what you are getting at with this comment, but I get the feeling these patches constitute more than a few lines so strongly disagree.

    If patches carry such value as to be "pulled" "a lot", they are by definition significant enough to annotate files with attribution.

    I'd say that "discomfort" is more appropriate.

    In a way it is doing you a huge favor, because when they adopt one of your changes you no longer have to reintegrate every time they turn another point release.
    o_O

    Changes for a "point release"? You must work with a more disciplined crowd than I've ever enjoyed.

    *shrug*

    I've seen "nightlies" from "Organic Groups" break my patches.

    Soma
    “Often out of periods of losing come the greatest strivings toward a new winning streak.” -- Fred Rogers
    “Salem Was Wrong!” -- Pedant Necromancer

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