I am trying to fork an application that is based on CodeIgniter. According to the GoogleCode page, the license is GPLv3. However, examining the license.txt file inside the root directory of the application is very clearly not GPL (it does not include the preamble etc.) and looks like a slightly modified version of the BSD License specifying that a copy of the license and all copyrights must be included with a changelog, as well as some indemnity clauses.

The confusing part is that within several of the actual php files they include another license in the comments. This license is a verbatim copy of the 2-clause BSD license, but below this BSD license there is a series of @tags, and the @license one has a link to the GPL 2.0 so it is unclear to me what license applies to this application. Finally, I have found no mention anywhere that the project is dual/multi-licensed. Also, the project has not been under active development for over 2 years. Can anyone shed any light on this (or point me in the direction of resources that could)? Thanks.

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 12 '11 at 6:10

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  • 1
    Why not contact application authors? – Michael Spector Jun 12 '11 at 4:37
  • 4
    Not to point out the obvious, but have you looked here: codeigniter.com/user_guide/license.html – Wesley Murch Jun 12 '11 at 5:48
  • I corrected your title. This is not about the codeigniter license, rather it is about an application based on codeigniter. – red-dirt Jun 12 '11 at 11:25
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    This question has been migrated, probably you should give the user some time to realize and add his/her account over to here. – hakre Jun 12 '11 at 14:58

I had problems to locate the source code repository. I could find one on Bitbucket, it is linked from Codeigniter wiki (scroll down to "Mercurial Server"): Codeigniter Reactor / license.txt

That's the information to gather from my point of view. And it's what has been already commented to your question: "Why not contact application authors?" and the pointer to the License in the Codeigniter user-guide.

Indeed this is not a GPL v3 license but looks more like a MIT/New BSD-Style license with some additions for the concrete trademarks/names somewhat reserved by Ellislab Inc. .

From what you describe in your question I just think you're not referring to the right codebase.

I was unable to find the source location you named (Google Code), so I can not say much about it. But from what you describe I assume that the code might be either a fork or a derivate of an older version of the framework. As the framework can be integrated into other applications as well, probably that's another application making use of it.

As the license is kind of New-BSD-Style, it's possible to release a derivate under another license incorporating the Codeigniter code with it's own (sublicensing).

Probably that has happened with the code base you named, but as I don't have any link to it, this is only a guess. Technically this should be possible.

So for yourself to get some satisfaction with your open questions, I suggest the following:

  • Locate the source-code you want to make use of. Refer to the most "official" source, e.g. get as close to the main project as you can get for the code in question.
    • This has the benefit that it's easier to clarify the actual licensing terms.
    • And it has the benefit as this is a framework/library, that you actually get the most stable version of the code (as this is an active project).
  • Locate the licensing terms. I do not know much about licensing of the Codeigniter project, so it might indeed be useful to clarify some questions with the original author(s):
    • Is the whole package available under the same licensing terms?
    • Or are parts of the package under additional / different licensing terms?

I think if you get these questions clarified you've really done a lot. Somehow document your progress so you actually have reference in case you need that.

However from my own point of view, I would say, that the license information given on the Codeigniter homepage is quite explicit. And if I take an exemplary look into a source-file like /system/libraries/Ftp.php I would say it's really clearly documented in file headers as well. So actually not really something to worry about.

  • As was mentioned, this application is NOT CodeIgniter but is an application built with it (the code I am concerned with is not part of CodeIgniter itself). The code for this project is stored at GoogleCode (since it is a fairly minor project). I have a attempted to contact the author but I have thus far received no response and considering the project has been abandoned for over 2 years, I don't actually expect to. Since the licensing is not clear and I have no experience on the subject, I wanted to get the opinion of someone who does. – user759147 Jun 12 '11 at 15:36
  • @user759147: Please give the link to project in question, then I might be of more help. – hakre Jun 12 '11 at 23:37
  • @Wesley Murch: Now you're mixing stuff, the OP just has explained it. This is not about codeigniter but something related. The situation for the current version of codeigniter however is somewhat clear now. – hakre Jun 12 '11 at 23:38

2 tools to consider to help with complying with open source software licenses:

(I don't work for either of them).

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