including GPL software info FreeBSD source tree

Joel Rees joel at
Thu May 15 19:00:20 PDT 2003

> Hello,
> what is the proper way to include GPL source code into FreeBSD distribution?
> i have a source code (from Linux) that is under GPL. i would like hack it a
> little bit and include it into FreeBSD distribution.

Is this for just yourself, or do you plan to make your own custom
distribution of a derivative-freeBSD, or do you want to get the GPL'ed
code added to freeBSD (the general distribution's source tree), or do
you just want to port a GPLed app to freeBSD and make your port
available, or is it something else?

Also, you need to know whether the GPLed source code must be linked to
operating system or other code from freeBSD in order to run.

> should i
> 1) keep GPL license?


> 2) put BSD license on top and keep GPL?


> 3) substitute GPL with BSD license?


(Sorry about the shouting.)

You cannot change the license. Attempting to do so would result in
breaking international and (probably) local laws.

Only the original author can change the license. If there is more than
one author, I think every author has to agree, essentially.

(This is true of _any_ license, including the BSD licenses.)

For information particular to the GPL, go to

and read. If your native language is not English, check for your
language at 

and look for the link for "Licenses" in your language.

> do i have to contact the author of the Linux code and get his permission?

Contacting the original author when you plan to modify code is _always_
a courtesy, and a Good Thing. Do so.

Joel Rees <joel at>
Programmer, Kansai Systems Group
Altech Corporation (Alpsgiken), Osaka, Japan

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