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PostgreSQL, OpenSSL, and the GPL

Feb 26, 2011, 15:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jake Edge)

"The OpenSSL license, which is BSD-style with an advertising clause, has been a source of problems in the past because it is rather unclear whether projects using it can also include GPL-licensed code. Most distributions seem to be comfortable that OpenSSL can be considered a "system library", so that linking to it does not require OpenSSL to have a GPL-compatible license, but the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and, unsurprisingly, Debian are not on board with that interpretation. This licensing issue recently reared its head again in a thread on the pgsql-hackers (PostgreSQL development) mailing list.

"For command-line-oriented programs, the GNU readline library, which allows various types for command-line editing, is a common addition. But readline is licensed under the GPL (rather than the LGPL), which means that programs which use it must have a compatible license and PostgreSQL's BSD-ish permissive license certainly qualifies. But the OpenSSL license puts additional restrictions on its users and is thus not compatible with the GPL. Whether that is a real problem in practice depends on how you interpret the GPL and whether OpenSSL qualifies for the system library exception."

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