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Re: Help with the Bloom Public License

Scripsit Drew Scott Daniels <umdanie8@cc.UManitoba.CA>

> It's available at: http://www.cbloom.com/bpl.txt

Hm, first of all, clause 1 seems to severely restrict which software
the author himself is allowed to distribute. If he gives his neighbor
a disk with GCC on it, he will be in trouble with the GPL, or be lying
in his own license.

> Item 2 asks that the distributor "MUST notify" "the recipient". I'm
> guessing that a license file is not good enough?

It is unclear to say the least.

Clause 3 is a compilation of several statements that are not all
mutually consistent. For example, subclause A states that "usage which is
legal under the GNU Public License (GPL) is also legal under the BPL",
while subclause D implies that there are restictions on commercial

> 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?

If the clarification is in the form of an explicit and unconditional
permission to revert to plain GPL, then nothing else can stop it from
being DFSG-free. However, such a clarification would be inconsistent
with the second half of clause 2.

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

It is more than an advertising clause; it is a restriction on program
behavior. I'd judge this to be more orneous than the DFSG can bear.

> 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.

Yes, but may be solved by redefining "commercial application" to mean
proprietary programs. The second half of clause 9 seems to reserve the
author's right to revoke or change the license retrospectively as he
pleases; this is also not DFSG-free.

> Item 10 is a no warranty clause. In some EULA's I see today, there's a
> provision addressing the possibility of the need or an automatic warranty
> in some jurisdictions. Is that kind of provision needed?

I don't think so. Apparently EULA authors are trying to work around
the risk that a court will tell them,

  "Our local law does not allow you to disclaim responsibility for
   X. Therefore, your statement where you disclaim responsibiltity
   for X and Y is invalid. Therefore, you are responsible for Y."

I have trouble imagining this kind of reasoning being applied to a
product that is being offered for free - but no matter what, such
working-around is not relevant for DFSG-freedom.

> From: Charles Bloom <cbloom@cbloom.com>

> It looks like DFSG requires users to make their code available (right?), so
> I would be fine with that.

This is a misunderstood reading. On the contrary, the DFSG (at least
the way it is applied in practise) does *not* allow licenses which
require users or authors-of-derived-works to disclose their code to
other parties than those they decide to offer compiled code to.

Henning Makholm                            "Hvad skulle vi med en præsident,
                                                 sådan en folkepolitibetjent
                                           med skrårem og hjelm og vandkanon
                                                som stikker sin næse i alt?"

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