Re: Licensing Problems with Debian Packages (Was Re: Copyright lawyers analysis of Andreas Pour's Interpretation)
On Wed, Feb 16, 2000 at 11:53:06AM -0500, Andreas Pour wrote:
> OK, so you admit that the advertising clause conflicts with the
> GPL. Well, that's very interesting, b/c the Apache license (see
> http://www.apache.org/LICENSE.txt, clause 3) includes this provision,
> as well as several others (clauses 4 and 5) that are inconsistent with
> the GPL. Now, Apache links with libc, and under your reading of the
> GPL, Debian must distribute libc under the GPL rather than the LGPL
> (as (1) you read Sections 3(a) and 2(b) of the GPL to require the
> "entire Program" to be licensed under the GPL, (2) you link libc with
> actually GPL'd programs, such s 'grep', and (3) you provide only one
> acopy of libc which can be either LGPL or GPL, but not both). Hence
> Apache links to a GPL'd work. Nevertheless, Debian distributes Apache
> (see http://www.debian.org/Packages/stable/web/).
Since the associateion between apache and grep is mere aggregation,
I don't see how this is relevant.
> Incidentally, Perl
> (http://www.debian.org/Packages/stable/interpreters/) has the same
> problem as Apache. Have a look at clause 9 of the Artistic License
Perl can already be distributed under the GPL.
> What's even more interesting is that FSF
> distributes BSD-licensed code as part of libc. See
> http://www.gnu.org/manual/glibc-2.0.6/html_node/libc_524.html. The
> notable part about that is, this code retains the advertising clause.
> It also contains DEC-licensed code, which not only includes an
> advertising clause, but, also specifies that its license applies to
> all redistributions (and hence the code cannot be distributed under
> GPL or LGPL).
Well, I've filed a bug report against Debian's libc6 on this issue.
I suspect that the issue has been ignored because the advertising clause
is considered unenforceable.
> Moreover, having looked at your libc license
> (http://cgi.debian.org/cgi-bin/get-copyright?package=libc6), Debian
> has not in fact converted libc to GPL, and Debian appears to
> distribute only one copy of libc, so I guess all Debian's GPL programs
> that link to it are in violation of the GPL (under your reading of
> Sections 3(a) and 2(b)).
If the advertising clause is legally relevant, yes.
> When will I see Debian start distributing a separate libc/libgdbm
> that is in fact licensed under the LGPL and to which only non-GPL
> programs link, since under Debian's reading GPL works cannot link to
> LGPL libraries?
I'll see what the response is to my bug report before tackling this
> Ohhh, but darn it, even that won't work. Debian's libc
> includes libio, and libio is licensed under the GPL (see
> http://cgi.debian.org/cgi-bin/get-copyright?package=libc6) (I note
> that the exception in the libio license, which says the executable is
> not governed by the GPL, does not apply to the source code, and your
> reading of Sections 3(a) and 2(b) apply to the source code).
I think that exception is clear enough about what it means.
> Oh well, I guess Debian can't distribute Apache or Perl unless you
> remove libio from your libc :-(.
Again, this isn't even an issue if the advertising clause is not
> Interestingly enough, it looks like Debian somehow thinks it can
> distribute libc linked to libio, even though one is (apparently) under
> the LGPL, and libio is licensed under the GPL, and they are a single
> work (no dynamic linking issues come up).
libio is GPL + an exception, not just plain GPL.
> I found all these problems just looking at your packages for a few
> minutes. How many could I find if I looked at all your packages? If
> you promise to make changes to comply with your own reading of the
> GPL, I will be happy to perform this service for you (of course, there
> will not be a working Debian distribution left afterwards . . . .).
If you find copyright bugs, I'll be happy to file bug reports.
I've already filed one on the advertising clause issue -- and I'm not
completely confident that that bug report isn't bogus. So I'll not be
filing any more on that issue until I find out more. But if you find
any other sorts of copyright bugs I'll be grateful.
> The more you look at reality, the more absurd your interpretation that
> Section 2(b) requires licensing all source code under the GPL. Nobody,
> not even the FSF or Debian, does this.
Like I said: if you find any problems, I'll file bug reports.