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I've been developing a Django app for my work (scientific stuff), and I'm planning to release it on GitHub very soon. But I do have licensing questions to be sure to do it right.

This work is modular, and made of three parts :

  • the Django app. The plan is to use the GNU AGPL v3

  • a python library called by the Django app. Plan is LGPL v3

  • a C shared library used in the python library. Plan is to also use LGPL v3, but this part is actually the tricky one, since that's a repackaging of a standalone which is under "GPL v2 or any later version". If I understood correctly, LGPL v3 is indeed considered "GPL v2 or any later version".

Am I correct about that ? If so, is my plan ok, or is there something illegal ?

Additional question :

  • On GitHub, do I need to put license headers in every files, or just configure the project with the proper licence ?
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Your main question:

a C shared library used in the python library. Plan is to also use LGPL v3, but this part is actually the tricky one, since that's a repackaging of a standalone which is under "GPL v2 or any later version". If I understood correctly, LGPL v3 is indeed considered "GPL v2 or any later version"

This is incorrect - LGPL is more permissive than GPL v2 so you will need to contact the original author for a waiver or for re-licencing of the original code.

Side Question:

On GitHub, do I need to put license headers in every files, or just configure the project with the proper licence ?

Accepted best practice for any Open Source distribution, not just on github is to put a brief licence & copyright statement in every file and a LICENCE.txt, sometimes LICENCE.md, just plain LICENCE or COPYING, file in the distribution with full licence details

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Your C library is a derivative of a GPL v2 or later library, thus you can only publish it under a GPL license (to your choice one of the four possibilities: v2, v2 or later, v3, v3 or later). I would recommend keeping GPL v2 or later, but GPL v3 (or later) would be fine too.

The Python library depends on the C library, thus it needs to be similarly GPL-licensed. You cannot license it under LGPL v3.

Finally, the Django app can very well be AGPL-v3-licensed (thanks to the "or later" clause of the original licensing statement; indeed GPL v3 is compatible with AGPL v3 whereas GPL v2 isn't).

  • Thanks ! Why would you keep it v2 or later instead of v3 ? Is it not better to update ? – user6748 Nov 21 '16 at 14:41
  • It's about allowing the upstream project to merge back some of your changes in their code-base. If you are sure that your changes won't be of interest for upstream then yes, upgrading to "v3 or later" would be fine. – Zimm i48 Nov 21 '16 at 14:44

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