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Re: [Steve Lidie <Stephen.O.Lidie@Lehigh.EDU>] Re: xodometer licensing



On Sun, Feb 25, 2001 at 03:05:48PM -0700, John Galt wrote:
> On Sun, 25 Feb 2001, Sam TH wrote:
> 
> >On Sun, Feb 25, 2001 at 12:41:36PM -0800, Aaron Lehmann wrote:
> >> I recieved this response from the author about what he permits us to
> >> distribute xodo under. Is this statement sufficient as copying terms
> >> if placed into the debian/copyright file?
> >>
> >
> >I would suspect that what he means is that xodo is distributed under
> >the license of Perl, that is both the GPL and the AL.  However, as he
> >wasn't specific about the GNU license, and he didn't make it very
> >clear at all what you should do if the Artistic License wasn't
> >acceptable (which it isn't) you might want to ask him for
>             ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> 
> What part of the DFSG are you basing this on?

Well, I don't think it's a free license for similar reasons as RMS.
Mostly because it's very vauge in places, and references things that
it really shouldn't in others.  Examples:

1) <quote> place your modifications in the Public Domain or otherwise
make them Freely Available, such as by posting said modifications to
Usenet or an equivalent medium, or placing the modifications on a
major archive site such as uunet.uu.net, or by allowing the Copyright
Holder to include your modifications in the Standard Version of the
Package.  </quote>

Aside from the really stupid decision to reference a particular server
(which doesn't appear even to exist anymore), do you know what this
clause means?  For example, Freely Available means that "no fee is
charged for the item itself".  Does this mean that I can't charge for
distributing modified binaries, even if I provide free source with
them?  It also means that "recipients of the item may redistribute it
under the same conditions they received it", but that doesn't help you
at all.  You can redistribute Microsoft software as well, under
whatever terms you like.

This statement of freely available, however, also conflicts with the
examples given for "freely availableness", such as usenet.  Nothing
about a usenet posting implies free redistibutability.  In fact,
Usenet postings are all copyrighted, and unless specific other license
is given, cannot be copied.  The same goes for internet archives, even
the ones that still exist.

2) The reference to manual pages is very limiting, in that it only
works on Unix-like systems.  

3) <quote>You may embed this Package's interpreter within an
executable of yours (by linking); this shall be construed as a mere
form of aggregation, provided that the complete Standard Version of
the interpreter is so embedded.</quote>

Does this mean I can't link with my own modified copy of the Perl
interpreter?  I don't think that's what Larry meant, but it is what
that says.  

4) <quote>Aggregation of this Package with a commercial distribution
is always permitted provided that the use of this Package is embedded;
that is, when no overt attempt is made to make this Package's
interfaces visible to the end user of the commercial
distribution. Such use shall not be construed as a distribution of
this Package.</quote>  

This seems highly non-free, as commercial distributions are required
to be allowed by the DFSG.  However, they are also allowed by clause 5
of the AL, contradicting that passage in clause 8.  

Some references: 

Ask Slashdot on the AL (lots o flames):
http://slashdot.org/askslashdot/99/12/08/1919252.shtml

RMS on the AL:
http://reflect.cat.org.au/lists/oldlistarchives/webkids/0229.html

However, the OSI does consider it Open, so whatever we decide is
likely to piss someone off.  
           
	sam th
	sam@uchicago.edu
	http://www.abisource.com/~sam/
	GnuPG Key:  
	http://www.abisource.com/~sam/key

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