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Re: Response to the j2se licencing concerns

Scripsit Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>

[License that says ... blah blah .. under certain limitation you may
distribute this under a changed license, and then:]
> >     SGI.  Recipient hereby agrees to indemnify SGI for any liability
> >     incurred by SGI as a result of any such terms Recipient offers.

> This license made me uncomfortable from the first time I read it.

> IMO the last sentence of the above-quoted clause may very well be
> DFSG-unfree...in which case the code licensed under it should be yanked.

I don't think it is. DFSG does not require that the software can be
redistributed under different releases. Thus anybody can shield
himself form the effect of this clause simply by not redistributing
the software under a different release. If the set of "any such terms
Recipient offers" is empty, no liability can possibly be incurred by
SGI as a result of such non-existing terms, thus the cannot possibly

It's an *optional* right that goes farther than what the DFSG demands
of licences. For DFSG purposes, such optional rights can be *ignored*.

A DFSG-free license would also be able to say

| You may include this code in your own proprietary programs IF you
| pay me $1,000,000.

or even

| If You claim this code as your own work, You must grow a large beard.

> Another alternative would be to ask for an alternative version of the
> GLX Public License that doesn't permit relicensing of executable code
> when divorced from source code.  Free Software developers don't care to
> distribute binaries without source in the first place, so it occurs to
> me that the above clause is really intended to target people who
> incorporate GLX into a proprietary implementation.

Exactly. The *additional* permission to do something which we don't
want any permission to do at all, can *never* make the license less
free than it would have been without that permission - no matter which
conditions that additional permission had.

> if Debian can get a variant of the GLX license that eliminates the
> freedom to take the code proprietary in exchange for not having to pay
> SGI's lawyers in the event they get sued by some loon,

The clause *does not apply* unless you *use* the offer to take code
proprietary. Since we don't plan to use it, the clause *does not
apply* to us, or to anyone else who merely wants to use the freedoms
implicit in DFSG-freenes.

Henning Makholm                "De kan rejse hid og did i verden nok så flot
                                 Og er helt fortrolig med alverdens militær"

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