License on rsync ??

jw schultz jw at
Sat Dec 27 08:34:07 EST 2003

On Fri, Dec 26, 2003 at 03:48:24PM -0500, tabris wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Noted in the readme that rsync is licensed under GPL, and have some 
> questions about this.
> Reading through a couple different places on the internet, of people 
> wondering why there are few to no GUI front-ends (are there any good 
> ones? if so, much of my questions here can be disregarded).

I seem to recall a kio front end in development but not

I suspect the biggest reason for lack of GUI front ends for
rsync is the fact that rsync does not have a native MS port.
On *x systems the demand for GUIs to support batch oriented
things is much smaller.  Running rsync on MS requires cygwin
and even then has some difficulties.  Rsync has not seemed
to attract that much attention of developers in the other
camp and those who do look at it seem more interested in a
native port than in trying to do GUI front ends.

> I think I found one project, a PHP-GTK interface, that the author 
> abandoned in favour of writing in Java. And that there was some wondering 
> why none of the programs like GetRight or other download assistant 
> programs support rsync.
> My only thought is that maybe there needs to be a librsync released under 
> LGPL, like zlib and other such libraries.

No _need_ to do that for a front end.  You are just
imagining it.  There is a long tradition of GUI front ends
for command-line utilities.  Such a front end is in no way
subject to the license of the back end.

While a library would be nice it would only be practical if
the rsync utility used it.  Otherwise the library is forever
playing catchup with the utility/daemon code-base.  There is
a librsync under LGPL but it is NOT wire-compatible with

> By no means do I wish to turn this into a flamewar or a politics 
> convention, and I haven't even subscribed to this mailing list.
> I should admit that I have a commercial interest in this venture, as I am 
> looking to [potentially] provide rsync access to various businesses for 
> the purpose of backup (as opposed to say FTP or SCP), and am in need of a 
> program for my customers to use. As I don't have the money to pay for 
> such a program to be developed, nor the skill to develop it myself 
> (especially on a win32 platform as the majority of my customers would 
> use), it would be in my best interest to find a pre-existing 
> program/platform to provide such a service.

Since you aren't going to build it or pay someone else to do
so what is it the best interests of your profitability as a
service provider would be something free with a GPL or
similar license.

> I believe in the GPL. But I also believe that at times it may be a 
> barrier to profitability. If I were to develop, or even pay for the 
> development of such a program, I would not wish to release it under a 
> purely GPL license such that my neighbor next door may then compete with 
> me, using the program I wrote.

You have now said too much if you wanted to avoid an
off-topic discussion.  Please, let's not get into a
discussion of licenses, business models, definitions of
profitability, et al.

> I realize I should probably leave it at that before I say too much. And 
> merely ask if there are alternative licensing possibilities, such as BSD 
> or LGPL, for the rsync backend.

No.  It is a utility for which many believe the GPL, OSL or
similar, keep it free, licenses are best.  Even if you could
track them all down You are not going to get all the
copyright holders to agree to an alternate license.

	J.W. Schultz            Pegasystems Technologies
	email address:		jw at

		Remember Cernan and Schmitt

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