Change of release and governance model for Thunderbird

Gervase Markham gerv at
Wed Jul 18 08:56:59 UTC 2012

On 17/07/12 17:00, Kent James wrote:
> Does anyone know if there would be restrictions to shipping an addon
> containing GPL code with the product itself? 

Yes; it would mean distributing the whole of Thunderbird under the GPL,
and Mozilla is not going to do that.

> Perhaps a corollary
> question is, why can extensions be GPL code and not core code?

The GPL requirements only kick in when you distribute code. Running a
program is not restricted. If you combine GPLed code with other code and
distribute the result, you have to distribute the combination under the
GPL. If that's not possible, you are prevented from distributing the
combination at all.

So distributing a GPL-ed extension - fine. Distributing Thunderbird -
fine. Distributing the two as a package would mean distributing standard
Thunderbird packages under the GPL. That could legally be done by
someone (the licensing is compatible), but Mozilla is not going to do it.


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