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Re: BSD license, core libraries, and NetBSD

On Tue, Oct 15, 2002 at 09:21:20PM +0200, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
> > This interpretation does seem to have the side effect of rendering
> > NetBSD's distribution of gcc (for instance), uhm, interesting.
> It would seem so, but it's not easy for to find the exact license
> terms on the NetBSD libc without downloading some tens of megabytes
> of source tarballs.

It varies between 3 clause BSD, 4 clause BSD and "Do whatever you want",
so overall it's presumably old-style BSD. 

> > Has anyone actually asked RMS what his intention here was?
> I don't know, but I can think of no other way to make sense of the
> "unless" part. See my full reasoning in the list archives at
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200205/msg00158.html

On the other hand, if RMS had intended that then I'd have expected earlier
complaints about gcc on NetBSD. gcc has been in NetBSD for a very long
time (a quick search seems to suggest that 386BSD had binary distributions
including it). I think second-guessing him here isn't sensible.

> > (And does it suddenly become legal if we distribute a bootstrap install
> > which contains no GPLed software from somewhere else and then provide
> > the rest of userland from debian.org? This seems a little, uhm, bizarre)
> I'm not sure that physical location would be the thing a court (or the
> FSF) would emphasise. If it all was integrated in what the user sees
> as a single OS product installation, I'd expect problems.

Based on my experience of dealing with Irix package management, if you get
the SGI freeware CD then you can install gcc at the same time as you
install the rest of the OS using the same package manager. Again, the fact
that people have been doing this for years doesn't mean it's right - but I
would have expected complaints earlier if it was the case. 

Matthew Garrett | mjg59@srcf.ucam.org

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