Building applications on BSD software

Roland Smith rsmith at
Fri Jun 24 06:58:43 GMT 2005

On Thu, Jun 23, 2005 at 11:12:39PM -0700, Chris Palm wrote:
> Hello,
> I am writing a b-school paper on the use of open source software 
> components and libraries used in and distributed with a company's 
> applications, and the legal copyright and other business issues that arise.
> What kinds of distribution requirements in terms of licensing would be 
> in place around distributing one of BSD's libraries? If a company was to 
> want to leverage and distribute these libraries with its products, what 
> would that company have to do?

Let me start by saying that IANAL.

For stuff that comes under the revised BSD license, see

In short:
 - keep the copyright notice etc. in the code.
 - add a copy of the license to the distribution.

GPL or LGPL stuff is different, see below.

> Would you be willing to share a licensing agreement for BSD components?

The BSD license _is_ the license you need, AFAIK. You have a valid
copyright license as long as you comply with the terms of the license.

> I found your legal page, but was unclear as to whether a third party 
> developer would use the the GNU or not.

If it's unclear, that's because the choice depends on what code you want
to use. You have to comply with the licensing terms in any case.

So if you want to incorporate GPL code in a product you want to
distribute externally, you practically must license your own product
under the GPL. See

If you want to link your product to an LGPL library ('mere aggregation' in
terms of the LGPL), you can license your product as you please. See

BSD stuff is more or less 'no strings attached'.

HTH, Roland
R.F.Smith ( Please send e-mail as plain text.
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