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Re: Response to the j2se licencing concerns


On Fri, Oct 12, 2001 at 07:44:29AM -0700, Stephen Zander wrote:
> Blackdown has been given permission by Sun to alter the terms of the
> licence to allow the redistribution of Blackdown released binaries by
> Blackdown mirrors and Linux distributions, not just Debian, regardless
> of whatever else they may distribute.
> The terms granting this permission appear at the end of the document
> James included in his email and have been generally overlooked in the
> discussion of this package.  Please read those terms and let me know
> if you continue to have concerns about the redistributability of the
> j2se packages.

I don't think that the concerns are about the extra clauses that Blackdown
added in their supplemental license. They could be a bit more clear as has
already been noted. It is a bit unclear how "Linux distribution" is defined.
Does that include *BSD based OSes, does it include HURD based OSes, any
other Free Operating Systems? Is it enough to include a linux kernel in
you distribution to call it a "linux distribution", etc. And it is a bit
how "users" are defined. When is someone part of the "distribution" and
when is someone only a "user"?

The real concerns that have been posted to debian-legal are about the other
clauses. James Troup mentioned point 2 from the Sun Supplemental License

> | (iii) you do not distribute additional software intended to replace
> |       any component(s) of the Software
> Since we actually do this[1] albeit not in the same package, does this
> disqualify us from putting it in non-free?

As others have said Debian intends to do this with packages such as
kaffe, jikes, gcj, fastjar, etc. Does this clause prevent Debian or its
users from actively working on such (Free Software) replacement technologies?

The other concern mentioned on debian-legal by Stephen Stafford was:

> There is *also* the rest of this clause:
> (vi) 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
> the use or distribution of any and all Programs and/or Software.
> I read this as saying that if anyone who gets the software from Debian
> decides to sue Sun then Debian, as distributor, would be liable to pay
> Sun's legal fees.
> [...]
> IMO (and I stress IANAL) the point you raise probably prevents us from
> distributing it, and part (vi) which I pasted above *definitely*
> prevents us from distributing it.

I think the Blackdown people have been helpfull to get the software
distributable (in non-free). But the points mentioned above should probably
be cleared up by Sun before Debian can decide to actually distribute it
through the mirrors.


Stuff to read:
  What's Wrong with Copy Protection, by John Gilmore

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