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Re: caml-light licence question.

On Wed, May 14, 2003 at 12:42:43PM -0400, Don Armstrong wrote:
> An additional question, is this the actual license? Or is it an
> english translation of the actual license? [Looks like it was written
> by a non-english common law attorney.]
> On Wed, 14 May 2003, Sven Luther wrote:
> > My understanding of it is that it is not distributable by debian,
> > since it allow distribution of modified works only as pristine source
> > + patches, not binaries, 
> That's correct.
> > BTW, what should i understand of the english sentence construction of
> > "the user undertakes to apply to obtain" It sound very much
> > un-english, but then, maybe i just misunderstand.
> It's english, but it's a rather unholy application of the vauge
> principles of english sentence construction.
> The clause means in effect: 
> "The user must obtain the expressed approval of INRIA to distribute
> the software outside the scope of this license." (Which is basically a
> no-op anyway.)

Ok, if nothing else, i will suggest a change of wording here.

> > Distribution of derivative works obtained by modifying the sofware or
> > integrating it in another software is allowed only if the
> > distribution consists of the unmodified, original source files for
> > the software, along with difference files (patches) to be applied by
> > the user of the derivative work.
> As you've already pointed out, this prohibits us from distributing
> modified binaries, and fails DFSG #3 and #4.

Would adding a "and is allowed to distribute binaries resulting from
building this patched source" be enough to make it free ?

> > As regards any other type of distribution, the user undertakes to
> > apply to obtain the express approval of INRIA.
> This is the no-op explained above.


> > Please note that the software is a product currently being developed.
> > INRIA shall not be responsible in any way concerning conformity, and
> > in particular shall not be liable should the software not comply with
> > the requirements of the user, INRIA not being obliged to repair any
> > possible direct or indirect damage.
> Weird NO WARRANTY clause.


> > INRIA freely grants the right to distribute bytecode executable files
> > generated by the Caml Light compiler (camlc). Binaries of
> > the Caml Light run-time system (camlrun), with the sole condition that
> > the documentation include the following statement:
> > 
> >    "This software includes the Caml Light run-time system,
> >     which is copyright 1991-1997, INRIA."
> > 
> > Executable files that include the Caml Light interactive system
> > (such as those generated by the camlmktop command) can also be
> > distributed freely, with the sole condition that the distribution
> > includes the following statement:
> > 
> >     "This software includes the Caml Light interactive system,
> >      which is copyright 1991-1997, INRIA."
> The requirement to include the copyright notice looks fine to me.
> [Notice in documentation or in distribution.]
> As far as I can tell, with the exception of the ability to distribute
> modified binaries (the qmail problem), the license seems to be Free.


> You may also want to suggest that the upstream author(s) consider
> using a more established license that more conventionally states their
> wishes instead of using what appears to be a home-grown license.

Yes, that is what i will do, i will not make a source only package, it
is not worth the effort in my eyes, and since it is upstream who has
come to me asking about packaging this, they should make the effort of
changing the licence, i think. Anyway, a later development of this,
ocaml, which comes under LGPL and QPL, is under a freer licence, so
there should be no problem.


Sven Luther

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