[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Non-copyleft free software licenses...

As soon as I find a search interface for the debian lists (is there one?) I'll stop posting newbie questions as this one, but...

People have always referred to the BSD-license as "more permissive" and "non-copyleft", and I've thought that it meant that (for example) anyone could release modified forks under any license they choose.

Last summer, however, I re-read the license and I became less certain. I asked on licensing@gnu.org but didn't recieve an answer. Debian-legal, if anyone, should know, however.

Does the modified BSD-license allow you to release forks under any license, for example a proprietary one?

It says:

2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

Now, Microsoft Windows 95 is a well-known, proprietary system which uses code from BSD. Thus, it includes the BSD copyright notice/license in the distribution (the version I verifyed this with had it in "ftp.exe"). Now, if anyone tries to distribute Microsoft Windows 95, or parts of it, under the same terms as free BSDs, they'll get harassed by Microsoft Corporation. Which is weird, since it says (again, in "ftp.exe") "Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted".

What gives? Oh, and in one of RMS's speeches (which I love, glad it's available in ogg format), he implies that the GNU project could've made a copylefted fork of X windows, but chose not to.

Reply to: