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Re: Gaim-Encryption plugin violates Gaim's license

On Mon, Jun 02, 2003 at 06:21:55AM +0100, Robert McQueen wrote:

> As a preamble if I just gatecrashed your mailbox or mailing list without
> warning, I am the Debian package maintainer for Gaim, as well as a
> frequent contributor to upstream development. I have just found out
> today that the Gaim-Encryption plugin for Gaim, which can be found at
> http://gaim-encryption.sourceforge.net/, makes use of the OpenSSL
> library, and loads it into the same process space as Gaim.

> Due to OpenSSL's four-clause BSD license (ie with the advertising clause),
> it is therefore in violation of Gaim's GPL license because the OpenSSL
> licence places an extra restriction beyond those allowable by the GPL.
> The Debian project will not distribute code of this nature, especially
> given that several Gaim developers (myself included) agree with the Debian
> project's position on this, and this message constitutes us contacting
> other distributors and the plugin author with this information.

It should be noted that this can only be a violation of the GPL if
someone is distributing the encryption plugin in binary form.  (Does
Gentoo distribute binaries of this software?)  It is generally held that
it would also *not* be a violation of the GPL if you distribute the
encryption module in isolation, only if you distribute it together with
binaries of gaim itself.

Given that you have explicitly said you don't have access to all
contributors to effect I license change, I presume this means gaim is
under the canonical GPL license, and that you are not attempting to
promote an alternative, overbroad interpretation of the GPL with your
statements above.

> For misinformation, read the OpenSSL FAQ which claims that OpenSSL is
> shipped with most operating systems and therefore falls under the GPL's
> exception for OS components. I interpret this to mean the kernel and
> shell, and libraries inbetween, and because it is specifically named in
> the GPL text, the compiler. It is certainly very easy to install Debian
> or any other distro without OpenSSL being present. The same is also
> doubtlessly true for any number of non-Linux platforms, not least Windows,
> where both Gaim and Gaim-Encryption are available in binary form, and
> OpenSSL is certainly not part of the OS!

To be precise, you cannot take advantage of the GPL's "OS exemption" if
your product is the OS.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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