I noticed today that the licence change of GeoGebra leaves the program in a 
very messy situation. GeoGebra is a fantastic piece of software for use in 
education -- I use it myself and know many others who do so, which is why I 
would like to work with you to resolve this problem.

Let me firstly say that I completely appreciate why you have taken steps to 
differentiate between commercial and non-commercial licensing. My experience 
is, however, that engagement with the wider free software community is much 
more fruitful and will lead to code contributions in a way that restrictive 
licences will not. Moreover, free software authors have a very long tradition 
of being able to obtain cash or in-kind contributions from commercial 
organisations who are using free software by directly engaging with them. More 
carrot and less stick is a more reliable approach.

The conclusions I draw below are not only based on the idealism of Free 
Software that I hold as a Debian Developer but also on pragmatic, practical 
and legal readings of the licences involved. I have drawn on the Debian 
project's twenty years of experience in dealing with software licences. The 
problems I highlight below not only cause problems for the Debian project (and 
its derivatives like Ubuntu) but are also a fundamental problem for the 
International GeoGebra Institute itself and all other educational institutions 
that want to use GeoGebra. The current situation will lead to GeoGebra being 
removed from the mainstream Linux distributions (Debian, Debian-
Edu/SkoleLinux, Ubuntu, Fedora etc). It also precludes mass-deployment of 
GeoGebra in educational institutions, especially in environments where a 
student is given a physical device like a laptop that is imaged by a central 
IT department.

I feel quite confident that the above scenario was not the outcome that the 
International GeoGebra Institute had in mind when relicensing GeoGebra. It 
would be great if we could have an open discussion and sort out this problem.

To specific details:

Let us first be very precise and recognise that this is not a licence 
clarification but a licence change. Version, for instance, clearly 
places the work under GPLv3 and CC-BY-SA 3.0. The licence text goes on to 
discuss commercial vs non-commercial use but only in the context where you 
"put the resulting work under your copyright". That is to say that commercial 
usage is permitted, the software is free for anyone to use, free for them to 
modify and free for them to redistribute. The restrictions here are against 
people claiming copyright over material that is actually the copyright of the 
GeoGebra authors; this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do and in fact is 
already covered by the GPLv3 anyway.

However, the licence text attached to version is GPLv3 and CC-BY-NC-
SA 3.0 and additional restrictions. A conversion from CC-BY-SA 3.0 to CC-BY-
NC-SA 3.0 is not clarification. The imposition of the extra restrictions is not 
confined to just the properties files but applies to java source code as well 
[0]; this is not a clarification but the imposition of a large number of 
restrictive conditions. The intent of this licence is to impose restrictions 
on commercial usage in such a way that users are no longer free to use the 
software. No users are permitted to redistribute the software (§10) which 
would also make redistribution of modified versions impossible as well. No-one 
is permitted to improve GeoGebra. GeoGebra is no longer free software. 

Have all copyright holders (java programmers, artists, translators -- there 
are many!) who contributed their work under the old licence terms agreed to 
the relicencing of their work? Does that include the CEA/CNRS/INRI who are 
copyright holders for the sections derived from scilab? The claim in §9 that 
GeoGebra is "Copyright (C) International GeoGebra Institute, 2013" is at best 
an assertion about the compilation; it does not cover significant chunks of the 
code or the bundled libraries and those bits of code are not the International 
GeoGebra Institute's to relicence.

The licence text goes to great lengths to impose additional restrictions over 
and above the GPLv3 while also stating that GeoGebra is available under GPLv3 
(clause 3 of the GeoGebra licence). Under §7 of GPLv3, I am permitted to 
ignore any additional restrictions imposed on me by the GeoGebra licence. This 
would strike out the entirety of the "non-commercial" aspects of the licence 
and the other restrictions about redistribution (§10). (The licence itself is 
not self-consistent on the point of redistribution; §10 forbids 
redistribution, while the preamble permits it.)

At this point in the analysis, I am left with two choices: 

  (a) I can conclude that GeoGebra is actually GPLv3 and strike out 
  the rest of the licence terms. Anyone can use GeoGebra for commercial
  or non-commercial purposes; it's Free Software.

  (b) I can conclude that GeoGebra is *not* available under 
  the GPLv3 as there are additional restrictions in force.  Unfortunately,
  that means that GeoGebra is instead under a GPL-incompatible 

Scenario (b) puts the International GeoGebra Institute in violation of the 
licences of two libraries that GeoGebra is linked against. EPS Graphics and 
JLaTeXMath are both licensed under the GPL "either version 2 of the License, 
or (at your option) any later version". Additionally, the International 
GeoGebra Institute is in violation of the scilab licence which covers section 
of the java code and which does not permit discrimination based on the field of 
endeavour (§5.1 of scilab's COPYING [1]).

Precompiled binaries of GeoGebra containing these libraries (such as the ones 
found at [2]) can only be offered if the licence terms of the entire download 
are compatible with the constituent parts. If we accept that "GPLv3 + CC-BY-
NC-SA 3.0 + additional restrictions" is more than just GPLv3 (i.e. we ignore 
§7 of GPLv3), then this licence is not compatible with either GPLv2 or GPLv3 
as required by EPS Graphics, JLaTeXMath; it's also incompatible with scilab. 
At present, distribution of recent versions of GeoGebra by anyone *including* 
International GeoGebra Institute is in violation of the licence JLaTeXMath, 
EPS Graphics and scilab. Violation of the GPL means that you do not have the 
right to distribute that work. Quite simply, each of the download links at [2] 
becomes a copyright violation and any school, university or linux distribution 
that passed on copies of GeoGebra to staff/students/users would also be 
committing a copyright violation.

I'm quite sure that is not what was intended.

I look forward to discussing this with you further and helping the 
International GeoGebra Institute and the GeoGebra developers continue to 
deliver high quality teaching tools. Please let me know how I can help you do 

kind regards

[0] It is also difficult to argue that the properties and the java code can 
really have separate licences in any case, but that is orthogonal to the 
problems here.

[1] http://cgit.scilab.org/cgit.cgi/scilab/tree/scilab/COPYING

[2] http://www.geogebra.org/cms/en/download/

Stuart Prescott    http://www.nanonanonano.net/   stu...@nanonanonano.net
Debian Developer   http://www.debian.org/         stu...@debian.org
GPG fingerprint    BE65 FD1E F4EA 08F3 23D4 3C6D 9FE8 B8CD 71C5 D1A8
GPG fingerprint    90E2 D2C1 AD14 6A1B 7EBB 891D BBC1 7EBB 1396 F2F7
GeoGebra - Dynamic Mathematics for Everyone


1) GeoGebra Source Code License:
   GNU General Public License v3 or later

2) GeoGebra Language Files, Documentation, and Installers License:
   Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 or later

Note for Non-commercial Users (e.g private, schools, or universities)
  You may use and distribute GeoGebra free of charge at home, 
  in school and universities under the conditions explained below.
Note for Commercial Users (e.g. publishers or online schools)
  If you would like to use GeoGebra applets, installers, or documentation
  for commercial purposes and put the resulting work under your copyright
  (e.g. for books, online courses, or on websites under your own copyright),
  you can do so by setting up a collaboration agreement with GeoGebra. 
  Please write to off...@geogebra.org for details and we will help you to
  find a simple and good solution for your specific projects.


1) GeoGebra Source Code License

   GeoGebra's source code is subject to the GNU General Public License
   (see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/):

   This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify 
   it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by 
   the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or
   (at your option) any later version.

   This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, 
   but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of 
   GNU General Public License for more details.

   You can find GeoGebra's source code at 
   If you would like to help with programming, please write to 


2) GeoGebra Language Files, Documentation, and Installers License

   All GeoGebra language files, documentation files, and installers
   are subject to the following Creative Commons Attribution - 
   Share Alike License; either version 3.0 of the License, 
   or (at your option) any later version 
   (see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/):

   You are free to copy, distribute, transmit, and adapt GeoGebra 
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        (i.e. by linking to http://www.geogebra.org/)
    * Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, 
        you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, 
        similar or a compatible license.

   GeoGebra file types that are subject to the above-mentioned license:
    * GeoGebra language files are ...
        the user interface language files ("properties files") for 
        all languages used by the GeoGebra application and applets. 
        They are part of every official GeoGebra binary distribution.
    * GeoGebra documentation files are ...
        all "GeoGebra Help", "GeoGebra Quickstart" and other 
        documentation files found on the GeoGebra webserver.
   * GeoGebra installers are ...
        installation packages that let you install the GeoGebra 
        application and/or documentation files on your system 
        (MS Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc.) including GeoGebra WebStart.
GeoGebra - Dynamic Mathematics for Everyone

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             GeoGebra Non-Commercial License Agreement

The International GeoGebra Institute is a non-profit organization
registered in Austria and having its office in Linz, Austria ("we",
"our" or "us"). We develop and support the GeoGebra dynamic mathematics
software application, including its source code, installers, web
applications and services, language files and associated documentation
("GeoGebra" or "the Software"). We operate GeoGebra (and publish its
related resources) through our websites located at
http://www.geogebra.org/ and http://www.geogebratube.org.

The terms of this License form a binding agreement between you, an
individual user or non-commercial organization ("you" or "your"), and us
regarding your non-commercial use of GeoGebra. By downloading, accessing
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If you would like to help with developing GeoGebra please find all
details on how to get involved (including GeoGebra's source code) via
this link: http://dev.geogebra.org.

Non-commercial License Terms

1. This License incorporates (by reference) additional license terms
published by the Free Software Foundation and the Creative Commons
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2. The GeoGebra installers and web services (including the various
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PROVIDED THAT you only do so for non-commercial purposes (without
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These License terms were last updated in April 2013.

Libraries used by GeoGebra:
* The Apache Commons Mathematics Library,
  http://commons.apache.org/math/ (Apache Software License)
* EPS Graphics, http://epsgraphics.sf.net (GPL)
* FreeHEP Java Libraries, http://java.freehep.org (LGPL)
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