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Re: Debian based GNU/Solaris: pilot program

On Thu, Nov 03, 2005 at 08:45:52AM -0800, Erast Benson wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-11-03 at 15:51 +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > Erast Benson <erast@gnusolaris.org> wrote:
> > 
> > > (a) to ship packaged OpenSolaris core on "main" CD, and the rest of
> > > GPL-filtered software, will go on "Companion" CD, or through APT
> > > repository later on. This is doable, since OpenSolaris core has
> > > everything it needs to be installed as a base system. We will try look
> > > carefully into GPL vs. LGPL vs. dual-licensed GPL and will clean up
> > > Nexenta to be complient with requests on this mailing lists.
> > 
> > Remember that dpkg is GPLed, so there's a slightly awkward bootstrapping
> > issue.
> I personally with community help will re-write stripped down CDDL
> variant of dpkg. Will Debian community be happy? But this is sort of
> duplication of work. I do not think that the goal of Debian community is
> to force developers do duplicate their work.

You appear to be pointing the blame for "duplication of work" all Debian's
way, when there are two parties who can do something about the problem --
and, when it comes down to it, the licence of the OpenSolaris libc might
have been less than entirely well chosen.

Now, I understand you may not want to anger our new Insect Overlords by
publically criticising the application of the CDDL to certain works, but
when it comes down to it, licencing the OpenSolaris libc under the CDDL is a
less-than-entirely-useful move, because it restricts exactly this kind of
use of the OpenSolaris libc that you propose.  Even glibc isn't licenced
this restrictively; it's LGPL.

Considering the age and extensive analysis of the GPL, I find it fairly
unlikely that the scenario you find yourself in wasn't considered at all by
the drafters of the CDDL, and by the people who chose to apply the CDDL to
the OpenSolaris libc.  The only two conclusions I can draw is that either
the lawyers thought that the scenario didn't apply, or that this kind of
work wasn't intended to be permitted.  The latter would be unpleasant, and
the former can only be resolved either through negotiation with copyright
holders of GPL works, or in a court of competent jurisdiction.

While relicencing or rewriting large chunks of the (GPLd) code on which
Nexenta will be based is a possibility, I'd talk to the people who are
responsible for the licencing of the OpenSolaris libc before getting too
noisy about Debian being to blame for any duplication of work that might

> If Debian really wans to be "system runtime" independent, and would like
> to have Debian GNU/Solaris port, it should release dpkg as LGPL
> software. This should help FreeBSD and GNU/Solaris non-glibc ports to
> suvirve.

The current licencing of dpkg is "system runtime" independent, it's just not
"software licence" independent.

- Matt

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