[logback-dev] Reverted logback license back to LGPL

Ralph Goers Ralph.Goers at dslextreme.com
Sun Aug 10 23:45:27 CEST 2008

Actually, Apache wouldn't have a problem with Logback under the LGPL. It 
just can't distribute it or host it. As you know, many projects are 
already using SLF4J. Obviously, it is very easy to tell users what to do 
to use Logback.  The legal committee allows the use of LGPL'd software 
in exactly these kinds of circumstances. Since users are free to choose 
from multiple implementations there isn't any restriction that Logback 
can't be one of them. This discussion has come up many times. The LGPL 
is not really a problem where the use of the component is optional.

The point of the GPL and LGPL is that users who use the library and make 
modifications must publish those modifications if they wish to 
distribute their work. This is really more of an impact in a commercial 
setting than in the ASF. Even then there are a lot of cases where it 
isn't a problem. But some companies simply won't allow or don't want the 
"hassle" of making whatever custom filters, appenders, etc they have 
created available to their customers. Those are the people you will lose 
out on. 

I doubt anyone would seriously consider forking the Logback project and 
then supporting it themselves, even if it was licensed under something 
like the MIT license. It just doesn't make sense to do that to a project 
that is actively being maintained, such as Logback is.  I work with the 
Liferay portal, which is licensed under the MIT license. They are doing 
quite well. In fact, Sun is now partnering with them to jointly develop 
the code. Sun certainly had the option of taking Liferay's code and then 
forking it, but it just made no business sense to do that.

The bottom line here is that you choose the license you want for a 
reason. I'm trying to understand how the LGPL provides more benefit to 
you vs any other license you could pick. You've not really answered that 


Ceki Gulcu wrote:
> Hello Ralph,
> The different license emphasizes the fact that logback is a
> different project than log4j. At this stage, developers who wish to
> contribute to logback can and do contribute. In other words, although
> the Apache license could potentially facilitate the adoption of
> logback, the project is doing fine as it is. It may be that I am in
> denial and that LGPL is hurting the project. When and if that becomes
> apparent, the license may be changed.
> In practice, LGPL is preventing the adoption of logback by one major
> actor, namely the ASF. Now, since Java 7 is licensed under GPL, I
> think the position of the foundation, that is rejecting (L)GPL
> wholesale, is simply untenable. I might be misreading the
> situation.
> By the way, there should be a FAQ entry for this question.
> Ralph Goers wrote:
>> You shouldn't. That is why I'm wondering why the LPGL instead of the 
>> Apache license.

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