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Re: Berkeley DB curious licensing practice

Scripsit Bennett Todd <bet@rahul.net>

> The new part isn't the above concept, but rather the re-definition
> of "redistribute" to include copying to machines within an
> organization, if they happen to be located at different physical
> sites. Sleepycat is explicitly taking the position that Berkeley DB
> can no longer be used for free within multi-site organizations,

Not as far as I can see from <http://www.sleepycat.com/licensing.html>.

The license they offer is a revised BSD license that has been further
amended with a short "supercondensed GPL" clause:

 * 3. Redistributions in any form must be accompanied by information on
 *    how to obtain complete source code for the DB software and any
 *    accompanying software that uses the DB software.  The source code
 *    must either be included in the distribution or be available for no
 *    more than the cost of distribution plus a nominal fee, and must be
 *    freely redistributable under reasonable conditions.  For an
 *    executable file, complete source code means the source code for all
 *    modules it contains.  It does not include source code for modules or
 *    files that typically accompany the major components of the operating
 *    system on which the executable file runs.

This is no more than what, say, the GPL requires. With the
clarification about what constitutes "distribution" it simply means
that if one distributes binaries for an application to several sites
within an organization, sources for the application need to be
distributed to those same sites, too. That doesn't make it nonfree.

> that even such internal use requires either open sourcing the app,
> or paying a license fee. This is new and different.

No that is simply GPL-like virailty. That is old and well-known.
And it is clearly DFSG-free.

> I for one am abstaining from using Berkeley DB as best I can.

That sounds like anti-copyleft FUD.

Henning Makholm               "Uh ... a picture of me with my hair pinned up
                        in a towel and standing in front of a grid without a
                    trace of makeup? *Are you out of your rock-happy mind?*"

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