Re: DFSG-freeness of Apache Software Licenses
On 2003-11-13 22:07:06 +0000 Roy T. Fielding <email@example.com>
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
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
Portions developed at the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at
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
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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