GnucashMobile for Android License

John Ralls jralls at
Thu Jul 12 10:23:04 EDT 2012

On Jul 12, 2012, at 2:07 AM, Ngewi Fet wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> It occurred to that I did not discuss this on this list.
> *[Disclaimer: IANAL, if anything I'm saying here is incorrect, please call
> me out]*
> Basically, when I started coding, I just licensed GnucashMobile using the
> same license as the Gnucash (GPLv2 or later).
> Should I leave this as-is, or would the Apache License v2 be more
> appropriate?
> The Apache license is not compatible with GPL v1 and 2, but is
> compatible with GPLv3. (GPLv3 is a subset of APLv2) [1]
> However, Apache is the license used by Android Open Source project [2] and
> a lot or other Android libraries and apps.
> GPL is used quite a bit too [3] and is the license of Gnucash itself:
> anyone who modifies the code must share the modifications.
> From my (limited) observations, a lot of the GPL apps are ports from the
> desktop versions. But GnucashMobile is not a port.
> Personally, I prefer the Apache version 2 license as it seems to be the
> preferred open source license for Android libraries
> and applications.
> So what say you?


I have no strong feelings either way. Gnucash isn't affiliated with anyone, so there's no external reason to select one over the other. The main difference between GPL3 and APL2 seems to be that APL2 permits linking -- making it effectively equivalent to the LGPL3. That's a no-op for GnucashMobile because it's not a library; it wouldn't make any sense to link to it. The only argument I can think of for selecting one over the other (aside from your preference, and since you're the author it does come down to what you're comfortable with) is that since everything else Gnucash is GPL, it makes sense for GnucashMobile to be so as well. 

I do think that if you select GPL, it should be GPL3 for the patent-poisoning provisions (which are also present in APL2). It would be good for Gnucash to do likewise, but because every contributor ever retains copyright to his work, we'd have to get permission from every one of them to re-license. That's way too hard.

John Ralls

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