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Re: OpenSSL Toolkit License Exception for Balsa?

Hi Carlos,

On Sat, Dec 14, 2002 at 12:32:10PM +0000, Carlos Morgado wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 14, 2002 at 10:59:55PM +1100, Andrew Lau wrote:
> > Hi everyone,

> >    Just one little problem with packaging Balsa 2.0.3 so far. In line
> > with Debian-legal's position, I have to ask for your permission to
> > compile and link your software, Balsa with OpenSSL due to their
> > advertising clause. You must also agree to extend the right to use the
> > OpenSSL features of Balsa to our users. I know that this might sounds
> > silly, but please note OpenSSL's position on GPL software [1].

> isn't it easier for debian to just consider openssl a system lib ? 
> but yes, i understand you point of view, it has come up before :\

The precise wording of the GPL is:

  [A]s a special exception, the source code distributed need not include
  anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary
  form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the
  operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component
  itself accompanies the executable.

If we ship Balsa binaries with Debian, then OpenSSL accompanies the
executable, and we cannot use this exception.  The OpenSSL FAQ has
glossed over this detail in the past; the FAQ Andrew links to still
doesn't tell the *whole* story, but it's closer now than it was.

> how do you handle the problem of multiple copyrights ?

In the case of projects with a large number of copyright holders, the
normal procedure is to make a "reasonable effort" to contact all
copyright holders to get their consent.  If you have a smaller number of
significant contributors, it is obviously more important to get the
consent of all contributors before modifying the license.

If you are unable to accomplish a license change, gnutls seems to be an
increasingly viable LGPL replacement for OpenSSL.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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