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Re: ecos license

On Tue, Jan 02, 2001 at 12:30:33PM +0100, Andreas Schuldei wrote:
> I had send a request for comment to this list some weeks before (
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal-0012/msg00096.html and here
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal-0012/msg00120.html). I guess
> there is some reason for not answering. If it was due to holidays and
> tight schedules, could you look into it again and let me know what his
> point of view is worth?

[debian-legal should probably have a FAQ page.]

On Fri, Dec 15, 2000 02:18:31AM +0000, Jonathan Larmour wrote:
> > The initial Author is restricting the user by the requirement to
> > give copies to or even notify him.

Andreas then claimed:
> It is a hoop you have to jump through, but it is not a restriction...

It's a restriction because if you are unable to meet this requirement
you are unable to distribute your modifications.

> it does not prevent you from making modifications. It is something you
> have to do if you do distribute modifications to eCos;

Note that the DFSG requires that a person must be able to freely
redistribute modifications.

> like the GPL says you have to distribute the *entire* source to a
> GPL'd program - is that a restriction incompatible with the Debian
> free software guidelines/open source definition too? Does the DFSG/OSD
> discriminate on the basis of who source gets distributed to?

The problem with this kind of license is that it makes an open-ended
ambiguous requirement of anyone who makes and redistributes modifications.

[1] The world is not completely interconnected, some countries are quite
poor, and we don't want to prevent poor people countries from being
free to make modifications to debian.  [internet access can be quite
expensive in some areas, and this license may even require electronic
mechanisms which are more expensive than internet access.]

  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

     The license must not discriminate against any person or group of

[2] The license says nothing about what happens if it ever turns out that
the author is not immortal, nor if the indicated mechanism is broken in
some other fashion.

  1. Free Redistribution

     The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from
     selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate
     software distribution containing programs from several different
     sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such


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