Bert JW Regeer wrote:
I am a small software engineer who is currently doing contract work for
a company, and I have a question about what license the vpopmail library
is under (vpopmail.a and friends).
I believe almost every file within the project indicates that it is
licensed under the GPL. The license itself is in the file COPYING.
I am developing commercial software for them that would link against the
> library, and now I have read that doing so could cause my binary to
> fall under the GPL, and thus it's source code as well, are these claims
You are not allowed to distribute a program that has vpopmail code
linked into it or distribute modified copies of vpopmail, unless it is
also released under the GPL. If you need to modify vpopmail, any
changes you make should be contributed back to the project.
Selling a commercial product that includes vpopmail code is exactly what
the GPL license is designed to prevent. Why should you get to sell our
labor without paying us?
If so, would it be possible to get the vpopmail lib's under something
> less constrictive, for example the LGPL?
I wouldn't oppose a change of license, but you would have to get
permission from the original author, and all of the previous
maintainers. I believe that anyone credited with working on the project
should be allowed a veto. Don't hold your breath...
Now, would it be okay if I wrote a wrapper, which if needed could be
released under the GPL, that then talked to the real binary through
other means (pipes, most probably)?
Have you looked at vpopmaild? Your commercial program is welcome to
connect to the daemon. (See README.vpopmaild.) You need a very recent
version of vpopmail to have vpopmaild. (Seriously consider using the
CVS version.) It would be very helpful (and good for your karma) if you
worked with the latest development release, and posted any problems you
find on the SourceForge vpopmail-devel list. If you find a bug, or need
new features it will get high priority for the next release, or if you
don't have any problems, I'll make it a stable release. Patches are
I am not a lawyer either. If you have any doubt about the legality of
your approach, you had better talk to someone with experience in the
subject! It often costs much less in the long run.