Free BSD Licensing

Mehmet Erol Sanliturk m.e.sanliturk at
Tue Mar 23 22:04:03 UTC 2010

On Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:40 AM, <jeguelf5 at> wrote:

> Free BSD representative,
> I am inquiring if Free BSD is installable under the The GNU General Public
> License (short: GNU GPL or simply GPL)?  Need to verify that for the
> requester of this software as coming through our subcontracts division.
> Jack Guelff
> Subcontracts Administrator
> Software and Intellectual Property Licensing
> Office: (319) 263-0985
> Fax: (319) 295-2075
> jeguelf5 at
> ____________________________

I am NOT a lawyer , therefore my views can not be considered a legal advice

I think , your best action would be to ask to a lawyer ( being expert on
copyright and licensing issues ) for legal issues of such a question to be
answered properly .

If you consider GPL , its most important requirement is that when a GPL
licensed software is distributed to others , the source is also should be
supplied with respect to GPL license rules .

A BSD licensed software can be used in ANY WAY without removing its license
and copyright terms .

If you study

you will see that it is not possible to combine each free and permissive
licensed software with a GPL licensed software . Therefore , for FreeBSD ,
it is necessary to review each file with respect to GPL combination .

Another point is that GPL license can cover only USED parts within a GPL
licensed software . If FreeBSD is not , let´s say , called by , or linked
into a GPL licensed software  , it will NOT be GPL license covered . It is
obvious that any software with its own license terms can NOT be re-licensed
as GPL licensed software , at least because GPL can NOT remove its own
license , but it can or can not be utilized within a GPL licensed software .

As a result , my opinion is that FreeBSD can NOT be re-licensed as a GPL
licensed software as a whole .  In reality , this is not necessary also
because FreeBSD sources are open to public through its source repositories .

Thank you very much .

Mehmet Erol Sanliturk

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