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License Mixing with apps, libcurl and Third Party Libraries
libcurl can be built to use a fair amount of various third party libraries,
libraries that are written and provided by other parties that are distributed
using their own licenses. Even libcurl itself contains code that may cause
problems to some. This document attempts to describe what licenses libcurl and
the other libraries use and what possible dilemmas linking and mixing them all
can lead to for end users.
I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice!
One common dilemma is that GPL[*]-licensed code is not allowed to be linked
with code licensed under the Original BSD license (with the announcement
clause, unless there's a specified exception in the GPL-licensed module). You
may still build your own copies that use them all, but distributing them as
binaries would be to violate the GPL license. This particular problem was
addressed when the Modified BSD license was created, which does not have the
annoncement clause that collides with GPL.
Uses an MIT (or Modified BSD)-style license that is as liberal as
possible. Some of the source files that deal with KRB4 have Original
BSD-style announce-clause licenses. You may not distribute binaries
with krb4-enabled libcurl that also link with GPL-licensed code!
Uses an Original BSD-style license with an announement clause that
makes it "incompatible" with GPL. You are not allowed to ship binaries
that link with OpenSSL that includes GPL code (unless that specific
GPL code includes an exception for OpenSSL - a habit that is growing
more and more common).
Uses an MIT license that is very liberal and imposes no restrictions
on any other library or part you may link with.
Uses an MIT-style license that shouldn't collide with any other
While nothing in particular says that a Kerberos4 library must use any
particular license, the one I've tried and used successfully so far
(kth-krb4) is Original BSD-licensed with the announcement clause. Some
of the code in libcurl that is written to deal with Kerberos4 likewise
have such a license.
While nothing in particular says that a GSS/Kerberos5 library must use
any particular license, the one I've used (Heimdal) is Original BSD-
licensed with the announcement clause.
Unclear license. Based on its name, I assume that it uses the OpenSSL
license and thus shares the same issues as described for OpenSSL
Uses the GNU Lesser General Public License. LGPL is a variation of GPL
with slightly less aggressive "copyleft". This license requires more
requirements to be met when distributing binaries, see the license for
details. Also note that if you distribute a binary that includes this
library, you must also include the full LGPL license text. Please
properly point out what parts of the distributed package that the
license addresses.
Uses a Modified BSD-style license. Since libcurl uses OpenLDAP as a
shared library only, I have not heard of anyone that ships OpenLDAP
linked with libcurl in an app.
[*] = GPL - GNU General Public License: