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Re: I've got a bad feeling about this...

On Tue, Oct 15, 2002 at 12:45:56AM -0500, Chris Lawrence wrote:
> On Oct 14, Joel Baker wrote:
> > Er. Given that 'libc' is under the 4-clause license, if this is true... or
> > does that not apply to 'system' libraries? NetBSD certainly has a fair bit
> > of GPLed code, including dist/gnu in the source tree.
> Hmm.  This could get ugly quickly; my gut feeling is that since NetBSD
> uses GPLed code linked against its libc, it's OK by the FSF.  But it
> does set a bad precedent with us using the "system libraries"
> exemption as a magic wand to get rid of GPL incompatibilities - Debian
> hasn't done that in the past.

Ugh. Yes.

> One thing to bear in mind is that the four-clause license is reduced
> to the three-clause license if the code is (C) UCB (they did that by
> fiat a few years back).  But IIRC all of the *BSDs had a lot of random
> hackers and companies decide they wanted their names mentioned too,
> and a lot of them haven't revoked the ad clause from their licenses.

Some large amount is (C) UCB, and falls under this, though it appears to
still be acknowleged by the NetBSD INSTALL.txt file. Much of the rest of
what we care about is *probably* (C) The NetBSD Project, but honestly, from
what I can tell on their list, even THEY aren't entirely sure what covers
some pieces of it (without digging into a given piece, at least).

> > Still, as long as it's DFSG-free... what are the practical implications
> > of using it as a core? Do we have to provide an advertising clause in our
> > releases, et al, as NetBSD appears to?
> > 
> > I can work on trying to untangle the strands of which license applies to
> > what part of the NetBSD source tree, but I need to know what I should do
> > about the copyright file and whether anyone else needs to be aware...
> Well, you definitely need to preserve the copyright file etc; if it's
> a massive boilerplate with all the contributors' names, I'd put it in
> the kernel package in /usr/share/common-licenses/NetBSD so
> debian/copyright in other packages can refer to it.

It's the INSTALL.txt file, not a copyright file. I have not (yet) been able
to find a copyright or license file that directly applies to the sources
in CVS, either on the website or in CVS itself. Anyone who knows where the
heck the thing is hiding, do tell. :)

> The bottom line, though, is that -legal is going to have to figure
> this out.  You may have to comb every file in the source tree to
> figure out what license applies to what :-(.

This is what I fear (though it may be limitable; we don't care about a
lot of the third-party cruft, and I'm looking to see how hard it will be
to trim it out of the sources completely, and simply put a note into the
copyright file saying 'check the NetBSD Project CVS if you want the full

> (Practically Debian/FreeBSD may be in a better position here since
> they're using GNU libc, which will avoid some of these issues.  But
> they still have to worry about attribution requirements, etc.)

FreeBSD supposedly dropped clause 4 from all (C) FreeBSD code a few years
back; at least, the comments by GNU folks on the GNU website list this as
an example of happy co-existance.

I dread posting to -legal until I can sort at least some of the mess out,
though. I want to know what we're looking at first. Maybe time to post to
the NetBSD lists and ask the core group.
Joel Baker                           System Administrator - lightbearer.com
lucifer@lightbearer.com              http://users.lightbearer.com/lucifer/

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