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Re: DFSG-freeness of Apache Software Licenses

On 2003-11-13 22:07:06 +0000 Roy T. Fielding <fielding@apache.org> wrote:

DFSG determines what is or is not free for Debian, not
someone gabbing on a mailing list, and certainly not a "consensus"
as expressed by three individuals.

Please investigate who applies the DFSG ("ftpmasters") and who they consult about them ("debian-legal consensus"). I suspect more than three individuals are reasonably happy with the statements on d-l, as you normally would see a lot of objections otherwise. The other possibility is that they don't care for Apache, but it's famous enough that I doubt it.

Your comment regarding "I think that we have prohibited such
litigation-termination licenses as non-free" only applies to
clauses that terminate the ENTIRE license, copyright and patent.

Why are you trying to combine patents and copyrights in the same licence? That's a minefield and a nuisance. Patent and copyright law are really quite different. Even in this country, where the same act encodes them, they do not really interact or have common parts. Can you publish an Apache Software Copyright Licence and an Apache Software Patent Licence?

One comment is that the NOTICE file might contain a tome of work
that isn't appropriate as a requirement for redistribution.  That
comment is sensible and should be addressed.  However, I will note
that no such restriction exists in the DFSG

That has not been the past interpretation of the DFSG. It is likely that any work able to include non-notice material in an unmodifiable notice file would be considered on a case-by-case basis. It would be better if we can avoid that possibility for software under Apache licences. Advertisements are not normally regarded as acceptable attribution statements.

Personally, I find your sample notice file for httpd 2.0 rather verbose. I'm not sure about the licences of all your contributing works and whether they require verbose forms, but is it not possible to use something more like this?

Copyright 2003 The Apache Software Foundation (http://www.apache.org/)

   Portions developed at the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

   Contains code derived from the RSA Data Security Inc. MD5
   Message-Digest Algorithm, including modifications by Spyglass Inc.,
   Carnegie Mellon University, and Bell Communications Research, Inc.

   Regexps use the PCRE library package written by Philip Hazel and
   Copyright 1997-2003 University of Cambridge

The PCRE one seems permitted by its licence at least ("like").

One comment is to the effect that the RI and TCK agreements
are not free because they restrict the manner in which a trademarked
namespace can be modified *and* redistributed.

Are these licences also trying to be trademark licences? That explains the odd references to trade names in the sample notice file. Can't you publish and enforce Apache trademark licences instead of including trademark-related terms in copyright licences?

Given the number of times Debian has violated our original Apache
license by redistributing modified versions of Apache httpd as if
they were the original, but actually containing security faults
and installation incompatibilities introduced by your repackaging
and addition of unreviewed "features", it would actually be a relief
not to be distributed in Debian.

Isn't one of the maintainers of the Debian apache packages a member of ASF? Shouldn't you bring this up with him first? If you have, what has he said? I think it's rather ungrateful and unhelpful to criticised contributed work in public like this if you haven't discussed it with him. I find no messages from you on debian-apache or debian-legal about this problem. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place?

However, I think that misses the point. You actually seem to be annoyed by the analysis of your proposed licence against the DFSG. That seems very odd, as you requested analysis and comments. Did a debian-legal subscriber run over your cat? I do not understand why you are not open to discussion (even though d-l subscribers do tend to open with "I think this is a bug" rather than softer words) and claim to be a better applier of the DFSG than people who have done it many times before.

I am cross-posting this. Please do the same with replies.

MJR/slef     My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
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