[Libguestfs] Hivex licensing question

Richard W.M. Jones rjones at redhat.com
Fri Nov 26 18:22:01 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 10:03:05AM -0800, Yandell, Henri wrote:
> We’re looking into using Hivex and came across something odd. While
> the license of hivex.c is LGPL 2.1, it appears to require the GPL
> 3.0 licensed gnulib package for a few minor functions ( full_read,
> full_write and c_toupper ). There are also a few GPL 3.0 build
> files.

It has always been our intention to allow hivex to be used from both
proprietary and free software, and so the library should be LGPLv2+.

The standalone programs are GPLv2+, but this should not be a problem
because you wouldn't link software to them.

I have looked at the gnulib modules that we're using in the library
(ie. lib/*) and they are:

  hivex    c-ctype    LGPLv2+
  hivex    full-read  LGPL
  hivex    full-write LGPL

(according to .gnulib/modules/* License field which is what you should
look at, *not* the comments at the top of each gnulib source file

Therefore I think for the library we are OK.

Just to complete the analysis, for the programs we are using:

  hivexsh  c-ctype   LGPLv2+
  hivexsh  xstrtol   GPL

The Makefiles are GPL, but they don't affect the library or the
programs in any way.  They constitute a separate program used to build
the software.


CC'd to Jim: This analysis is a pain, and gnulib-tool doesn't let you
say "I want to use LGPL for this directory and GPL for this other

Richard Jones, Virtualization Group, Red Hat http://people.redhat.com/~rjones
Read my programming blog: http://rwmj.wordpress.com
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