Re: Debian Legal summary of the X-Oz License
On Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 04:37:32PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > 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
> > (http://www.x-oz.com/)."
> > Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself,
> > if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.
I'd like to remind everyone this is directly taken from the Apache 1.1
> We find this statement to be a bit confusing. Here are some questions
> that may make it less so for us.
> 1) Can this clause be satisfied simply by including the license text in
> end-user documentation, since the license text includes verbatim the
> required acknowledgement?
> 2) Is there an objective set of characteristics that distinguish
> "end-user" documentation from any other kind of documentation?
> 3) If the answer to 2) is "no", or you if you are unable to think of
> any, would you strike the term "end-user" from the license text, and
> apply the amended license to all of the code copyrighted by X-Oz
> Technologies, Inc. that is currently in public circulation?
> 4) Is it the position of X-Oz Technologies, Inc., that this clause is
> binding upon the licensee even if end-user documentation included with
> the redistribution neither contains, nor is derived from, work
> copyrighted by X-Oz Technologies, Inc., and licensed under these terms?
> [ For example, if I am distributing Vim, the text editor, as well as its
> user manual, on a CD-ROM to someone, and include the source code to the
> XFree86 X server from the XFree86 CVS trunk as of November 2003 on that
> same CD-ROM as a convenience, am I required to modify the Vim
> documentation to include the statement "This product includes software
> developed by X-Oz Technologies (http://www.x-oz.com/)."? ]
> 5) If the answer to 4) is "yes", am I relieved of the obligation of this
> clause of the license if the only end-user documentation I am
> distributing is not copyrighted by me, and I have no license from the
> copyright holder to modify that documentation?
Why are these questions not being asked also about the Apache license as
well? Why haven't they been asked before? How is this organizations
use of language that we've used for several years any more questionable
than the ASFs?
> > 4. Except as contained in this notice, the name of X-Oz Technologies
> > shall not be used in advertising or otherwise to promote the sale,
> > use or other dealings in this Software without prior written
> > authorization from X-Oz Technologies.
This clause also isn't new. It's already in the existing X licenses.
It's clause 4 of the XFree86 1.1 license. And the last line of the
XFree86 1.0 license. The language is identical except for the replacing
the organization name with X-Oz, you can see the XFree86 licenses at:
It's also in the X.org license that I believe XFree86 contains code
from, the language in this case uses copyright holder instead of the
> We have some concerns about this clause as well.
> 6) What does "or otherwise" mean? It would seem to include all forms of
> communication other than advertising (examples include magazine reviews,
> blog postings, and so forth).
> 7) What does "or other dealings" mean? It would seem to include all
> activities that can be promoted other than sale or use (examples include
> charitable donations of copies of the software, or the "cooking" of a
> CD-ROM with a copy of the software encoded on it in a microwave oven).
> 8) As far as the participants on the debian-legal mailing list are
> aware, there is no jurisdiction in the world in which a right to use the
> name of a copyright holder for promotional purposes automatically
> attaches to any copyright license, no matter how liberal its terms. Can
> you tell us why X-Oz Technology, Inc., feels this clause is necessary?
Based upon what I've been told from them directly they included it
because it had always been there. They wanted a license that was
similar to the existing X licenses.
I really don't understand why the X-Oz / XFree86 licenses are being
picked on (and I really think they are being picked on) over these
license terms. Other projects use these same terms. I haven't seen
anyone suggest Apache or XFree86 under the 1.0 license should be pulled
because of these problems.
Nor has this language ever proved to be a problem so far for these other
Ben Reser <email@example.com>
"Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be looking."
- H.L. Mencken