Re: Summary : ocaml, QPL and the DFSG.
On Tue, Jul 20, 2004 at 11:54:24AM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Palmer <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > This is a slightly different problem to that of a local law which says "you
> > can't do that". I'm not distributing prohibited technology to an embargoed
> > location by choice. I never thought "hmm, wouldn't it be cool if I sent
> > this to Iran". Instead, the terms of the licence are forcing me to do that.
> Almost -- they force you to do that if you modify and distribute. So
> you don't have freedom with respect to the software, because you can't
> modify and distribute without the license urging you to potentially
> break the law.
> > I have no way of knowing that my compliance with the licence will some day
> > require me to break the law. It's a downright hideous licence term, and a
> > pretty damn good argument for why forced unrelated distribution is a bad
> > thing.
> That it is. Thanks for pulling it out as a clean example.
Having slept on it, I've decided that in the specific case of the QPL, this
particular situation is not a problem for Debian, but ONLY because we can
avoid the whole issue by making the items in question available to the general public (which we do).
Unfortunately, since there's no clear definition of "general public", I
can't give this clause the all clear, since it might require providing
availability to embargoed countries, or to people without computers(!), but
if the author takes a reasonable view of "general public" (which is a bit of
a nightmare to actually define without going nuts), I don't think we will
have too much of a problem.
We're taking a similar path with the GPL, anyway -- the non-freeness of 3b
and 3c is OK because we're distributing under 3a. By analogy, the
non-freeness of compelled unrelated distribution of linked items is OK(ish)
because we're taking the "publically available" route.
I'm still not comfortable with it, but I don't think it's the hairy bear
trap it is, but only because of the rustiness of the springs. <grin>