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Re: Sun Java available from non-free

Executive Summary: There are serious issues with clause 2a, 2b, 2c,
2f, and 4; and lesser issues with other bits of this license. As much
as some of our users would like to see us distributing this JDK in
non-free, I'm really not sure that it can be distributed while
complying with the license or without incurring unreasonable burdens
upon our mirror operators and Debian. I'd recommend that ftp-masters
consider pulling this package from non-free until these issues are
resolved (or at least understood.)

First off, I'm going to completely ignore the FAQ as the FAQ and the
license both specifies that the FAQ does not have any legal validity.
I'm also going to rip out the bits of the license which I don't feel
are particularly useful; this doesn't mean that they don't have
problems, only that I haven't seen them in a rapid pass through of the

As a final note, did anyone from Debian who usually examines licences
actually examine this one? [At any time if you're unsure of a license,
but don't want to disclose the new terms publicly you should be
contacting someone who routinely does this kind of examination so this
sort of problem doesn't occur. I'm always willing to help clarify the
issues facing Debian in regards to both free and non-free licenses; I
assume other contributors to -legal are willing to as well.]

> 2. License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this
>     Agreement, [...] provided that: (a) the Software and any
>     proprietary legends or notices are complete and unmodified;

This seems to cause a problem with actually packaging the software
unless the Debian package counts as the Software... this seems to mean
that any time that the package should be changed the maintainers need
Sun to actually distribute the software to them (or otherwise grant
them the ability to modify the software.)

>     (b) the Software is distributed with your Operating System, and
>     such distribution is solely for the purposes of running Programs
>     under the control of your Operating System and designing,
>     developing and testing Programs to be run under the control of
>     your Operating System;

non-free is not part of Debian so we definetly don't distribute it as
part of the Operating system.

>     (c) you do not combine, configure or distribute the Software to
>     run in conjunction with any additional software that implements
>     the same or similar functionality or APIs as the Software;

This means that we can't distribute eclispse or anything else which
implements part of the Java API (or if you're going to read this
clause as broadly as possible,[1] things like perl which implement
similar functionality in that perl is an implementation of a cross
platform language Perl.)

>     (d) you do not remove or modify any included license agreement
>     or impede or prevent it from displaying and requiring
>     acceptance;

We may need to modify debconf preseeding to make sure that the user
can't prevent the agreement from being shown...

>     (f) you agree to defend and indemnify Sun and its licensors from
>     and against any damages, costs, liabilities, settlement amounts
>     and/or expenses (including attorneys' fees) incurred in
>     connection with any claim, lawsuit or action by any third party
>     that arises or results from (i) the use or distribution of your
>     Operating System, or any part thereof, in any manner, or (ii)
>     your use or distribution of the Software in violation of the
>     terms of this Agreement or applicable law.

I'm really not entirely sure what this clause is getting at, but it
seems that the intention is that Debian needs to indemnify Sun for any
litigation resulting by users of the package of Sun's JDK which Debian
has distributed, even if Sun is grossly negligent.[2]
> 4. COMPATIBILITY. If you exercise the license in Section 2, and Sun
>     or a licensee of the Software (under section 4(b)) notifies you
>     that there are compatibility issues [...] caused by the
>     interaction of the Software with your Operating System, then
>     within ninety (90) days you must either: (a) modify the
>     Operating System in a way that resolves the compatibility issue
>     (as determined by Sun) and make a patch or replacement version
>     available [...]

Oh, right... so if the Sun JDK is buggy, we have to modify our
operating system to make it unbuggy in some way that makes Sun happy.
Makes sense to me.

> 14. MISCELLANEOUS. Any action related to this Agreement will be
>     governed by California law and controlling U.S. federal law. No
>     choice of law rules of any jurisdiction will apply.

Awwww yeah! Now everyone gets to suffer!

>     It supersedes all prior or contemporaneous oral or written
>     communications, proposals, representations and warranties and
>     prevails over any conflicting or additional terms of any quote,
>     order, acknowledgment, or other communication between the
>     parties relating to its subject matter during the term of this
>     Agreement.

Just in case you had any questions about the total uselessness of the
license FAQ, the above clause should put that to rest.

Don Armstrong

0: While partaking liberally in the excellent Foreign Hard Liquor BoF
at Debconf too...

1: If you happen to be an insane maniac like myself, this may be the
default method of reading the license.

2: In other words, if there is a serious bug in the JDK that causes a
loss of user data, and Sun knows about it (or put it there on purpose)
and the user sues Sun and wins, we appear to be liable because the
suit resulted from use the use Debian with the covered software.
Q: What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the
Experience of the Past Million Years?
A: Nothing.
 -- Bokonon _The Fourteenth Book of Bokonon_ (Vonnegut _Cats Cradle_)

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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