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Re: (forw) Re: eCos license

On Thu, 04 Jan 2001 06:59:13 -0500, Michael Tiemann wrote:
> I am not a lawyer, either. But I would argue that the GPL essentially
> says the same things as we do wrt this bit:
> > | Any Modification which You create or to which You contribute
> > | must be made available in Source Code form under the terms of
> > | this License
> and what you are complaining about is the requirement that information
> be made available via an approved electronic distribution medium
> (rather than a "preferred machine-readable format" which is what the
> GPL stipulates).

Actually, it's the stipulation that it must be made available to
a specific person.

The GPL is pretty careful to indicate that you're only *required* to make
the source code available in the same way that you make the binaries
available.  This is reasonable, because if you can afford to do one
there will be comparable effort involved, in making the sources available.

The eCos license makes a completely different sort of requirement: it
requires that you make the source code available to a specific person.
And: the license doesn't ensure that this is a reasonable requirement.

> I could certainly agree that if the contributor has no access to,
> nor makes any use of, for any other purpose, an "approved electronic
> distribution medium", then we waive this requirement. In other words,
> if somebody only ever communicates with the world by sharing floppies
> delivered by mule, and never writes or receives email that can be
> conveyed to the internet, then we can make an exception.

If that exception gets put into the license, and it makes it so
that there's no requirement that the person making modifications do
unreasonable things, then debian can treat this as free software.

> But if a developer does have access to an approved electronic
> distribution medium, then like the GPL, we want sources made available
> for all binaries that are shipped. We don't want people to claim "hey,
> this is an embedded system, so I cannot provide sources as part of the
> device I'm building"--that's bogus, and violates the spirit of the
> free software.
> I also don't see how the eCos license violates guideline #1 of
> debian, presuming that the GPL does not violate that guideline.
> The GPL clearly restricts certain practices, as does eCos. The
> eCos license restrictions have nothing to do with payments of
> royalties--they only have to do with the redistribution of source
> and notification of changes to the implementors in the event that
> binary-only distributions are made. If binary-only distributions
> are never made, this reverts to the terms of the GPL. So, we're
> giving people one additional freedom in exchange for one additional
> restriction. If you want to make a distribution of eCos based on GPL,
> I can talk with people about that--I think that's ok. I think that it
> will be more challenging to ship a floppy with every embedded system
> you build compared to setting up a server that provides electronic
> access (or shipping said sources to Red Hat once).

If Debian can ship eCos under the GPL, that would work.



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