b2/cafelog is GPL

As some of you know I’m currently in contact with Mark Jaquith, a WordPress lead developer, regarding my questions to licensing of the WordPress package.

This conversation is still ongoing and started after he published an article on the WordPress development blog about the change in the WordPress licensing and my posting about that.

As a first result, I’m happy to write with the best knowledge of both – the WordPress project and me – that b2/cafelog code is licensed under GPL with no version restrictions.

This might not sound as news as this has always been the licensing terms of the b2/cafelog.

But after I got in contact with Mark it was first not clear to say which position the WordPress project was taking: b2/cafelog being technically licensed under GPL, GPL v2 or GPL v2+.

In emails over the past days we could finally clarify that point and both agreed that b2/cafelog is licensed under the GNU GPL – not version restricted.

This is an important point as WordPress is a successor of b2/cafelog and if there would have been a technical version restriction to version two of the GPL, it would not have been possible that easily to upgrade or convert it to GPL v2+ for now.

Conflicting Looking Code

So what could be said about the cause of the former dissent? Probably this:

The whole code is centrally marked in the package’s readme file being GPL, but one function was causing uncertainty as it was marked as GPL v2.0. If so, this would have technically conflicted with the non version restricted GPL licensing terms of the package.

I always argued based on the licensing terms given, that b2/cafelog and therefore WordPress was licensed under GPL.

The function written by Leonard Lin in 2001 is called balanceTags. The author wrote last year in august, that All code licensed under the GPL (any version) and further on:

I’ve put this up for posterity and also from a request by the WP team to relicense the code as GPL (instead of GPL 2.0).

As Lin continues, he contributed the code to the b2/cafelog project.

As it’s visible, it was always safe to use the code of the balancetags function under the terms of the GPL with no version restrictions.


Good to see the dissent could be removed again for b2/cafelog as well. This makes the situation more clear for users of the code and they can have some trust in the licensing terms given by the package. Additionally, I had not wrote in detail about that function so far, so it’s a nice addition to my series.

Hopefully I’ll have some more good news in the upcoming weeks, the discussion has come to a point where it starts to look more promising to me.

(My blogging back those days: WordPress Licensing Issues – Progress (Day 5), the related changeset is [15536], the issue is related to ticket #14685)

Previous: WordPress Changes GPL License Text Again
Next: GPL: This Deserves a Special Mention, II
Series: WordPress Licensing Issues

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