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Re: Sources licensed under PHP License and not being PHP are not distributable

Matthias Urlichs <matthias@urlichs.de> writes:

> (C) Bite the bullet and admit that when everybody else calls a color
>     "light blue" which we consider to be "cyan", we might as well docuent
>     that fact instead of trying to convince everybody else that they're
>     wrong, even if they are, from our PoV. After all, the color stays the
>     same, no matter what people call it.

>     By the same token, this license is valid by force of everybody under
>     the sun considering it to be valid (taking intent and all that into
>     account). The chance of an author of / contributor to one of these
>     packages (nobody else has any legal standing to do so) suing us for
>     distributing this code is … well … I suspect that if you want to get
>     a lawyer to laugh, you might as well ask them.

> So. Bottom line: Can we agree to compromise on some modification of
> (C) informally, or is a GR required?

(C) seems right to me as well.  I don't see this as a matter of principle
unless the principle is "we refuse to deal with even major software
packages that do dumb and self-contradictory things with licenses but
without any intent to actually restrict the freedom of the software
covered by them."  And I don't actually agree with that principle.  For
stuff not already in Debian, sure, let's stick to a simple policy because
we can usually get people to change upstream and make the world a better
place, and we don't lose much if we fail.  But that doesn't really apply
to PHP.

This isn't like the GFDL where we have an actual, substantial disagreement
with upstream over whether something is free software.  The clear intent
and the de facto reality is that this software is free; the license just
has crappy wording that no one reads literally.  From a legal perspective,
I think one could make a pretty strong argument that estoppel applies to
any attempt to enforce the license literally at this point.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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