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Re: Help with the Bloom Public License

On Wed, 29 Jan 2003, Drew Scott Daniels wrote:

> I would like to help Charles Bloom make the Bloom Public License (BPL)
> DFSG compliant. It's available at: http://www.cbloom.com/bpl.txt
> The version modified May 14, 2002 seems to have problems with it.

Very much so.  The license is kind of a mess in itself, and it's not clear 
that the author wants his software to be free, even if the license were 
cleaned up.

Permission to distribute modified copies is simply missing from the 
license (though it's kind of implied).  Debian accepts few limitations on 
this permission anyway, and the document seems to specifically exists to 
make this as onerous as possible.  

Further, all use restrictions must be removed.
> Item 2 asks that the distributor "MUST notify" "the recipient". I'm
> guessing that a license file is not good enough? If so, is there a way to
> make it mean that and still keep it DFSG compliant?

Is item 2 a typo?  Did he intend to write "must notify the author"?  Did 
he intend to put a "that" instead of a period in the middle of the item?  

Item 3 would be problematic if it had any meaning.  Debian does not accept 
software with usage limitations.  Fortunately, 3A allows all usages, as it 
defers to the GPL which allows all usages.

> Item 5 states that "BPL code may not be sold in any form." If item 3A
> (regarding GPL usage of the code) is clarified could item 5 be left?

No.  3a talks about usage, and is a no-op as I previously mention.  5 is 
about distribution.  Users must have the right to sell modified 
versions of the software.

If 3a said the software may be used or distributed according to the terms 
of the GPL at the distributor's option, we'd be fine (this is known as 
dual-licensing, where recipients can choose which license to use to 
govern their distribution rights).  I'd make that it's very own item, 
probably #1, if that's the intent.

> Item 6 seems to be an advertising clause. I forget the history with
> advertising clauses, but it at least seems undesirable.

Undesirable.  Acceptible in some cases, but this is a bit far-reaching.  

Item 7.  I can't make heads nor tails of it, but it sounds either silly or 
non-free, depending on what it means.

> Item 8 forbidding the sale of code and forbidding distribution fees looks
> like it needs to be removed


> Item 9 requiring the "author" to be "notified" about commercial use may be
> a problem.

Any use restriction is a no-go.  Fortunately, 3A already gives the ability 
to ignore item 9.

The last sentence in item 9 is insane.

>      Drew Daniels
> PS: Please CC me.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 17:47:55 -0800
> From: Charles Bloom <cbloom@cbloom.com>
> To: Drew Scott Daniels <umdanie8@cc.UManitoba.CA>
> Subject: Re: PPM, BPL...
> At 04:40 PM 1/28/2003 -0600, you wrote:
> >Hello,
> >I've been following the PPM algorithm for a few years now. Of all the PPM
> >algorithms I've looked at I believe PPMZ(2) to be one of the best. I would
> >like to encourage it's use and development, but the BPL causes some
> >problems and has some ambiguities. For one thing, the GPL allows for code
> >to be sold and your license claims that it works with the GPL and says
> >that your code cannot be sold.
> Well, I was meaning to explicitly allow any use that's legal under GPL.
> Personally, I think GPL is much too limitting because it requires users to
> also use the GPL.  I'm trying to allow all GPL uses, plus some more.
> >I'd like to see the BPL become compatible with the Debian Free Software
> >Guidelines (DFSG) defined in
> >http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html#s2.1.1
> >
> >If you're willing to have the source code and binaries for PPMZ2 become
> >part of Debian, I can talk to the debian-legal about what the minimum
> >license changes that would be required.
> >
> >If you don't want to make PPMZ2 DFSG compatible, then I'll be disappointed,
> >but I'll understand.
> It looks like DFSG requires users to make their code available (right?), so
> I would be fine with that.
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Charles Bloom    cbloom@cbloom.com    www.cbloom.com

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