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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
particular OS.

 - 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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