Audacious' open source license?

Added by Elias Elias over 3 years ago

Being a fork of Beep Media Player, which itself is a fork of XMMS, this means Audacious is lineage-wise, a descendant of the original XMMS. However, while XMMS is licensed under the GNU GPL v2, Audacious is licensed under the 2 clause BSD license. How is this possible? Last I checked, if you're not the original and sole developer of the software project, you can't change the software license from GPL to other licenses, because the GPL being a copyleft license, requires of other developers to keep using the GPL license. In fact, unless permission is given by the original developer, it's not even allowed to upgrade the GPL v2 to GPL v3 for said software fork, making the GPL license incompatible even with itself.

Anyway, personally, I'd rather see Audacious being published under the GPL v2+ than 2-clause BSD, because without copyleft it's not really open source (because proprietary/closed development is possible under permissive licenses like 2-clause BSD, Apache, MIT and so on).

Replies (3)

RE: Audacious' open source license? - Added by John Lindgren over 3 years ago

All of the developers of the now-BSD-licensed core of Audacious agreed several years ago to re-license their code under the BSD license.

There is no original XMMS code remaining in Audacious core any longer. Some older plugins (notably the Winamp Classic Interface) still have portions of the original XMMS code remaining, and are still licensed under GPLv2+, while dynamically linking to the BSD-licensed core libraries.

RE: Audacious' open source license? - Added by Elias Elias over 3 years ago

So basically, Qt Audacious is a completely different project than the original XMMS/BMP descended GTK Audacious? Because from what I recall after doing my homework on open source licenses, if you fork a software project, and that software happens to be GPL licensed (as in strong copyleft), your fork has to be published under the GPL also, and you can't switch licenses like that.

Anyway, what was the purpose of this license switch? I understand the GPL has multiple requirements and it's just easier to use a simple permissive license like 2-clause BSD (which is closer to public domain), but the GPL guarantees that the source code remains open and free, whereas permissive licenses like BSD, MIT and Apache allow proprietary/closed source development. Do you have any plans to close the source code or what's the deal with this license switch?

Personally I think you guys should switch back to the GPL, and on top of that, go hardcore with the GPLv3.

RE: Audacious' open source license? - Added by Ariadne Conill over 3 years ago

It is possible to relicense software if all relevant copyright holders agree to it.

We spent several years working on gaining the appropriate clearances to relicense Audacious core to BSD.

Most of that rationale was to make Audacious more palatable to plugin developers who did not want GPL infecting their plugins.

Finally, I will say in the 15 years of Audacious existence, GPL never brought us new code. If someone wants to fork Audacious and make it proprietary, they will have to rewrite many GPL plugins anyway -- only the core itself is BSD.