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Re: Draft new DFSG - r1.4

Johnie Ingram <johnie@netgod.net> writes:

> "Tony" == Tony Finch <dot@dotat.at> writes:
> Tony> I think the major application that this will affect is Apache
> Tony> -- the Apache Group has control of the licence.
> It also affects ispell, the larger Apache modules, and everything with
> ssleay support (mutt-i etc.), if we assume this was carefully worded
> not to apply to University of California, Berkeley based software.

It would also exclude SSLeay, Kerberos, and AFS. Eric Young, Tim Hudson, and
the Swedish Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan are the usual suspects here.

> The advertising clause, though distasteful, affects very few people
> and doesn't make the software less free to use.  It makes it less free
> to mention by name in your corporate press releases, which until now
> no one has claimed is an essential feature of free software (or Open
> Source).

In theory it would affect many people except that it's generally ignored with
impunity. Nobody has every to my knowledge been sued, or even threatened with
a suit based on it and some claim it isn't enforceable in the one jurisdiction
most companies care about. (Actually I think Berkeley did threaten AT&T/USL
since AT&T had, like everyone else, had completely ignored it even as they
threatened Berkeley over code taken from SysV.)

And it's certainly not just in corporate press releases that it's relevant.
The BSD clause and those based on it require mentions in _all_ advertising.
Adding even a single statement on advertising copy can be expensive -- adding
a laundry list of such clauses covering whatever software provides the
features mentioned in the ad would be impossible. This is a real danger,
various BSD distributions do ship with guides for commercial users listing the
various clauses needed depending on which features are mentioned in

It's somewhat irksome that the very meaninglessness of these clauses is used
to justify their continued use, on the grounds that no one seems to be
inconvenienced. I wonder if Microsoft released some useful little utility with
a similar clause, would people be happy about our distributors being forced to
advertise Microsoft if they want to describe the features of our distribution


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