I am interested in modifying the SQLite source code and making it available as an experimental public fork (GitHub, Google Code, etc.)

However, the SQLite source code is currently in the public domain. If I fork, am I allowed to relicense using GNU GPL 3+? I would like my changes to the original source to be licensed under GNU GPL 3+.

Using this Q as an example, I plan to commit the last official source to a git repo and make a note in README about the original source code. I assume this will satisfy this clause: The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.

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    One thing to consider in this effort is that should you decide to contribute your changes to SQLite, the maintainers will require that you put your changes into the public domain. – Blrfl Mar 19 '13 at 12:35
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    I also think that you need to think about why you want to put your changes under GPL, as opposed to following the original author's choice of license. It feels a bit rude to me to do what you propose. – Michael Kohne Mar 19 '13 at 13:41
  • You should use fossil for your code; that's what SQLite itself uses and then you'll find it easy to track changes. (There's always a concern when mapping between SCMs about losing something critical, and SQLite is an active project, with 3 commits yesterday, including a new release.) – Donal Fellows Mar 19 '13 at 14:18
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    @Blrfl: To put it another way, the SQLite maintainers can't require anything; they just won't accept contributions unless they're put into the public domain. – Keith Thompson Mar 19 '13 at 15:29

SQLite is public domain, you can do what you want with it (except probably claim it as your own)

Anyone is free to copy, modify, publish, use, compile, sell, or distribute the original SQLite code, either in source code form or as a compiled binary, for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and by any means.

But it would be polite and honest to mention that the original source is public domain even though your release is GPL. Then people have the option of building on your GPL'ed code or returning to the original

  • Ok -- going point about being polite and honest. I will make an effort to be very clear about the original code and its license (and where to get the original with public domain license). – kevinarpe Mar 19 '13 at 6:51
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    The polite version might also be to make yur modifications under the same terms - then the sqlite community might still benefit from the changes (as you benefit from the sqlite community) the application using this might still use GPL or whatever – johannes Mar 19 '13 at 13:01
  • Be careful to make sure it's clear which parts are your work and which are the original source. The original source is in the public domain and I suspect that if you aren't careful about the difference, you could weaken your copyright. – Michael Kohne Mar 19 '13 at 13:05

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