Re: New CUPS license violates DFSG 6?
On Tue, 2002-05-14 at 06:38, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> CUPS now appears to include the following exception to the GPL.
> Besides how ambiguous this is, does it discriminate against
> fields of endeavor, e.g., producing non-Mac software, in
> violation of DFSG 6?
[snipped Apple license exception clause]
Disclaimer: I maintain the cupsys* packages for Debian.
DFSG 6 says:
"The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in
a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the
program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic
I would say that the new license does not fail DFSG 6 for these reasons:
- Strictly speaking, I'm not sure that "writing software for Mac OS" is
a "field of endeavor". There aren't any restrictions on the purpose of
the software, use in a commercial enterprise, selling it, and so on. I
think of this as the reverse of the typical GPL exception clause;
instead of allowing linkage to a non-GPL-compatible library, we're
allowing the code to be a library to a non-GPL-compatible app on a
- The strictest license in all cases is the straight GPL, which is a
known free license. The only modifications to the GPL are a relaxation
of its terms.
- The license on CUPS does not (and never has, since it was GPLed)
cover use. Since DFSG 6 enjoins authors from "restrict[ing]... from
making use", no distribution restriction could fail DFSG 6 on its own
(although a distribution restriction could fail other parts of the
> If it does, it'd be a really weird case ;-)
It is weird. I think they would have been better off just
dual-licensing with a non-free Mac-specific license; they hold the full
copyright, after all.
OTOH, I think I know where this is coming from. Apple really seems to
like CUPS, and is paying Easy Software Products mondo buckage (at least,
I hope so :-) to get it to play nice with OS X. They're probably a
little skittish about the (L)GPL license terms, and the EasySW people
would be placating them.
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