Re: Debian Legal summary of the X-Oz License
On Mon, Mar 01, 2004 at 11:37:48AM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> No, it is not. It is similar, but the wording is worse. Elsewhere were
> quoted parts of ASL 1.1, but I think it incomplete that clause 3 was
> not. Here it is:
Did you read the license we're talking about?
> * 3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution,
> * if any, must include the following acknowledgment:
> * "This product includes software developed by the
> * Apache Software Foundation (http://www.apache.org/)."
> * Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself,
> * if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.
Now read the clause in the license we're talking about:
3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution,
if any, must include the following acknowledgment:
"This product includes software developed by X-Oz Technologies
Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself,
if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.
The difference? The name in the acknowledgment, the word "the" before
the acknowledgement, and the URL in the acknowledgement.
> For no obvious reason, the X-Oz licence has the lawyerbomb "in the
> same form and location" added twice. This could be a symptom of the
> problem: X-Oz looks like an obfuscated ASL 1.1. Obfuscation is not a
> good trait in a licence author.
No it doesn't. You're confusing the X-Oz with the XFree86 1.1 license.
However, I don't think that license is really any worse. The slight
change in the wording doesn't really change anything. Who cares that we
have to include the acknowledgement in the same place and the same form
as other acknowledgements? Why is this such a big deal.
> Indeed. For something as basic as X, that should kill our enthusiasm
> for this.
But being GPL-compatable has *NOTHING* to do with being DFSG compliant
or not. Being GPL-incompatable may mean as a practical matter Debian
doesn't want to ship the software because of the need to link GPL
software against it. But that doesn't make the software or this license
In fact the GPL problem isn't about this license. But about the GPL.
The author of this license can't change the terms of the GPL. But that
doesn't mean that they shouldn't feel free to ask for the attribution
that they desire. It is up to them to determine if GPL-compatability is
something they care about. It is up to us to determine if we will use
their software under their terms.
If being GPL-incompatable is a violating of the DFSG then Debian has a
lot of software to start removing.
> >[Clause 4]
> >This is interpretation is seriously reaching. The Apache license and
> >the BSD license have similar clauses. I'd argue that the Apache
> >is much broader here actually.
> I think the Apache licence is fairly narrow. The X-Oz one includes the
> lawyerbomb "or otherwise" in what it forbids and that seems overbroad,
> exceeding what a free software licence can do.
4. The names "Apache" and "Apache Software Foundation" must not be used
to endorse or promote products derived from this software without prior
written permission. For written permission, please contact
Just about any use other than saying negative things about the software
can be considered to endorse or promote products. So already what
you're allowed to use the marks to do is pretty widely restricted.
Remember, Apache is the name of the software here, not just the name of
the producer. "Ohh yeah I used Apache and it was great, it solved all
my problems." Would violate that license if you'd modified the work at
all (you're given the out here due to the use of the word dervied if you
haven't patched the program at all).
Now let's consider X-Oz and XFree86 1.1 (they share an identical clause
here with the exception of the mark).
They have a seemingly broader clause. But when you think about how it
would behave in the real world. It's actually more narrow, simply
becuae the only mark they are restricting your use of is the name of the
business or organization doing the licensing. Not the name of the
software. But further, they give you the exception of "Except as
contained in this notice," meaning that they are giving you permission
to use the marks as necessary to carry out the other clauses.
So what does the clause really prevent you from doing? Using those two
marks without permission. Neither of which you have a particularly good
reason to need to use anyway. They aren't the name of the software.
> http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html Q8 or
> http://people.debian.org/~asuffield/wrong/dfsg_guidelines.html might
> help explain what you're seeing here.
Yup sure, I realize that. But the DFSG is about the freedom to use,
distribute, and modify the software. Clause 3 is simply asking for
acknowledgement, which denying as being DFSG compliant is ridiculous.
Clause 4 is about asking you not to use their name without permission.
None of these are unreasonable requests. None of the tests in Q8 on the
first URL you gave are failed.
Let's assume that Clause 4 doesn't even exist in the license now. Can
the author still sue you into oblivion for using his trademarks? You
In fact this license is explicitly giving you the rights to use the
marks to comply with the license.
I don't think the license violates any of the language or the spirit of
It may be a license that we personally wouldn't use on software. But it
does give you all of the required freedoms.
Ben Reser <email@example.com>
"Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be looking."
- H.L. Mencken