[Aboriginal] Pondering license change GPL->MIT.

Rob Landley rob at landley.net
Mon Sep 23 08:02:16 PDT 2013

So a year or two back I switched toybox from GPL to BSD after doing  
some serious historical auditing. My recent Ohio LinuxFest talk (the  
rise and fall of copyleft) may eventually have recordings up. But the  
real trigger was this thread that wandered by recently on the buildroot  


(I don't hugely follow that list but I created it abusing my root  
powers on the busybox/uClibc server to kick the traffic off the uClibc  
list, and then never unsubscribed from it...)

And they're wasting huge amounts of time going on about how the GPL  
applies to a bunch of makefiles and shell scripts that don't directly  
produce binary output. What does the GPL mean when there's no binary  
version of the code to distribute separately from a source version?  
(How can you be on the hook to distribute source if you never  
distributed binaries because there's no binary version?)

Aboriginal is a bunch of bash scripts. It's gplv2 because when I  
started this project GPL was The License. Now there's no such thing as  
"The GPL" (the Linux kernel and Samba can't share code, even though  
both are gpl and implement 2 ends of the same protocol).

So I'm thinking of switching to the "zero clause BSD" toybox license,  
which looks enough like BSD to reassure people but is actually  
effectively public domain:


I need to go through the source control history and find third party  
changes I've merged, but there actually aren't that many. (I've taken  
ideas from people, but mostly not code.)

$ hg log -v | grep '^user:' | sort -u
user:        Alessio Igor Bogani <alessiogirobogani at gmail.com>
user:        Alessio Igor Bogani <alessioigorbogani at gmail.com>
user:        Eric S. Raymond <esr at thyrsus.com>
user:        landley at driftwood
user:        Marc Andre Tanner <mat at brain-dump.org>
user:        Mark Miller <mark at mirell.org>
user:        Rob Landley <rob at landley.net>

Not a big list...

The largest lump of gplv2 code in the project is ccwrap, which I'm in  
the process of rewriting anyway. (Yeah, been stalled for a while.  
Working on it...)

So I just thought I'd throw that out there. Shouldn't make any  
difference to anyone but me, but "GPL for a bunch of bash scripts" has  
struck me as funny for years...


More information about the Aboriginal mailing list