[libvoikko] Wiki pages related to libvoikko

Harri Pitkänen hatapitk at iki.fi
Tue Mar 2 19:11:25 EET 2010

On Tuesday 02 March 2010, Sjur Moshagen wrote:
> Thanks for pointing out the licensing issues with our morphologies. We are
>  in the process of going through our licensing policy, with the intention
>  to avoid such issues in the future, and provide clear rules for the use of
>  the resources we have developed.
> Which license would be most compatible? GPL?

A simple and very widely compatible license is the X / MIT license:


Using it would ensure compatibility with Voikko and also with proprietary 
applications such as MS Office.

The license has some problems though, like making dual licensing hard and 
allowing closed proprietary derived morphologies to be developed. If you wish 
to make sure that future versions of to the morphology remain free for 
everyone, perhaps it would be better to license under "GPLv2 or any later 
version" with an additional exception stating that the requirements of GPL do 
not cover the programs that use the binary transducer. This too is enough for 
Voikko and still allows using the morphologies in MS Office.

If your previous licensing policy has been GPL, the latter option would seem 
to be easier to implement. At least if you have many copyright holders it is 
far harder to convince them all to use the MIT license. Convincing them to 
accept the "MS Office exception" is probably easier as I assume that everyone 
who has been developing your morphologies know that at least some of them have 
already been used for developing MS Office spell checkers.

Whatever license you choose, try to make sure that it is compatible at least 
with "GPLv3 or any later version". It's especially important to have the "or 
any later version" or problems can develop quickly after GPLv4 is released.

For example OOo switched from LGPLv2 to LGPLv3 quite quickly after LGPLv3 was 
released and LGPLv3 is incompatible with GPLv2. At that time Malaga was under 
GPLv2 only. There was a real risk at that time that we would have had to stop 
developing openoffice.org-voikko because of that incompatibility. Luckily 
Malaga had only a single copyright holder and he agreed to add the "or any 
later version" back to the license.


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