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libntfs-3g license 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 21:18
Posts: 30
Post libntfs-3g license
Hi, I see there was a thread about this 2 years ago, but I was confused by the answer. What license is libntfs-3g (the library specifically) distributed under? There is a COPYING.LIB (LGPLv2) file in the source distribution, but it is never actually referenced by the libntfs-3g source files, which all state the license is GPLv2 or later. The reason I ask is that I'm considering relicensing wimlib, which is currently licensed GPLv3+, under the LGPLv3+. Is it permissible to dynamically link to libntfs-3g in either case, especially given that the libntfs-3g integration is an optional feature?

Note: I also have borrowed and slightly modified the code from ntfs_upcase_table_build() to build an upcase table to support NTFS-style case insensitivity. The table is presumably not copyrightable as it's purely functional data that was copied from Windows anyway, but I presume the specific code to expand the table at runtime could be subject to the copyright and license.

Of course, I think all this stuff is a little silly given that Tuxera sells a proprietary kernel-mode NTFS driver for Linux which is much more questionable, but I just thought I'd ask. At least, could the ntfs-3g README file clearly state the licenses for the different components of the software?

Thanks!


Wed Mar 19, 2014 05:57
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NTFS-3G Lead Developer

Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 17:22
Posts: 1286
Post Re: libntfs-3g license
Hi,

Quote:
What license is libntfs-3g (the library specifically) distributed under? There is a COPYING.LIB (LGPLv2) file in the source distribution, but it is never actually referenced by the libntfs-3g source files, which all state the license is GPLv2 or later.

I had to get information from the former developers for this.

As stated in the source code files, libntfs is GPLv2+. The COPYING.LIB file must be present in the source package because the package contains libfuse-lite which is LGPLv2, but this does not apply to libntfs.

There are contributors who do not want this to be changed, see http://filesystems.996266.n3.nabble.com ... d4824.html
Quote:
Is it permissible to dynamically link to libntfs-3g in either case, especially given that the libntfs-3g integration is an optional feature?

You can only link to libntfs-3g from GPLed code. Linking from an LPGL library would allow linking from non-GPL code, which some contributors do not want.
Quote:
but I presume the specific code to expand the table at runtime could be subject to the copyright and license.

So you have to mention and respect the license.
Quote:
Tuxera sells a proprietary kernel-mode NTFS driver for Linux which is much more questionable

Not so questionable, as all copyright owners granted Tuxera the right to do so.
Quote:
At least, could the ntfs-3g README file clearly state the licenses for the different components of the software?

This would indeed be useful.

Regards

Jean-Pierre


Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:03
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 21:18
Posts: 30
Post Re: libntfs-3g license
All right, thanks for the clarification. With regards to Tuxera's NTFS driver, you couldn't possibly have received permission from all copyright holders of the Linux kernel, of which there are thousands. So clearly there's a different standard being used for what constitutes a "derivative work" under the GPL, compared to what you're telling me for libntfs-3g. Anyway, I don't want to start an argument; obviously you guys want to sell your software, and other companies do the same.


Mon Mar 31, 2014 07:13
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Tuxera CTO

Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 23:15
Posts: 1648
Post Re: libntfs-3g license
synchronicity wrote:
So clearly there's a different standard being used for what constitutes a "derivative work" under the GPL, compared to what you're telling me for libntfs-3g.


The explanation for the different standards is different cases:

- When libntfs-3g is modified then its license needs to be followed because that's a derivate work

- The NTFS driver however is a derivate of Windows which is being integrated into the kernel for interoperability reasons

A fair comparison were if Linux code is modified. In that case GPL needs to be followed. There is more about this for instance here: http://arstechnica.com/business/2006/12/15/8428/

I hope these clarify the issue.


Sun May 03, 2015 21:33
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