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Re: licensing confusion

On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 03:39:59PM -0300, Humberto Massa scribbled:
> Marek Habersack wrote:
> >On Thu, Mar 04, 2004 at 02:45:12PM -0300, Humberto Massa scribbled:
> >Do Cc: me on the replies, thank you
> >
> >[snip]
> > 
> >
> >>>It's simple - how is it possible that most licenses used by free
> >>>software are incompatible [1] with GPL and yet debian mixes them in many 
> >>>projects
> >>>it distributes (like mozilla, php, apache to name the most prominent 
> >>>ones).
> >>>
> >>The GPL-compatibitily problem only arises in the case you *link* 
> >>   
> >>
> >Like in the case of mozilla linking against libfreetype6?
> > 
> >
> ok, let me see. Mozilla is triple-licensed, so it is *the* bad example. 
> *But* AFAIK the mozilla licensing is triple exactly to make it 
> GPL-compatible and, if freetype is L?GPL, there is no link-incompatibility.
That's fine, but read what does the copyright say exactly:

Some files in this source package are under the Netscape Public License
Others, under the Mozilla Public license, and just to confuse you even 
more, some are dual licensed MPL/GPL.

That means, some of the object files are MPL, some NPL, some MPL/GPL - which
means, parts of the mozilla-bin binary are NOT covered under any
GPL-compatible license. So, for those parts, the copyright is violated (at
least it seems to be, unless logic doesn't apply to licensing terms :)
> >>something with something else. _Any_ DFSG-free license permits you to: 
> >>bundle and distribute differently licensed things together, _as long as_ 
> >>they are not derived works. GPL further defines linkage as deriving for 
> >>the purpose of licensing.
> >>   
> >>
> >So that would make mozilla in conflict with GPL since some files in
> >mozilla are NPL, some MPL and some GPL. That makes _parts_ of mozille code
> >non-compatible with freetype6 which is distributed under GPL/FTL with
> >FTL being incompatible with GPL. So, what in this case?
> >
> > 
> >
> when we say "Mozilla is distributed under the MPL, NPL, and GPL", means 
> *you*, as the receiver can ... insert doing stuff you normally could not 
> do under regular copyright law ... if and only if you concur to abide 
> (and abide) to the terms of *at least one* of them. So, if you want to 
> link them together (mozilla and freetype), you can license mozilla as 
> GPL, freetype as GPL, and there you go, no incompatibilty.
Wait, wait. According to the copyright statement, mozilla consists of files
licensed under many licenses. So, logically, I would have to agree to ALL of
them in order to be able to use the software and abide by the terms of its
licenses. Consequently, what is the "amalgamate" license of the mozilla
_binary_? If you embedded the license name (say, in the way the linux
modules do in 2.5+) in the object file which would be linked in the binary
and then used nm/objdump to look at the binaries and their
interdependencies and interactions with other software mozilla links to, you
would have ended up with parts that are copyrighted under NPL and yet link
to, for instance, glib or freetype by calling APIs contained within the
libraries. Wouldn't that break the terms of the (GPL) license?

> >I'd rather public-domain it, really... precisely to avoid having to
> >wonder whether it is compatible with openssl, apache, php, nspr/nss and
> >whatever else...
> > 
> >
> (a) in some jurisdictions, you can't PD something without going to great 
> lenghts (registering in a notary _there_, paying a fee, etc)
> (b) if you want maximum compatibility, 2-clause BSD is ideal. (because 
> any derived work can further restrain distribution)
OK, so BSD it is.
> >>2. if it is a library and I want proprietary software to use it, I use 
> >>GPL or the 2-clause BSD.
> >>3. _do not_ invent a new license.
> >>   
> >>
> >I'm not going to, just trying to understand why make your life harder by
> >using GPL (which may lead to having to hire a lawyer somewhere in future
> >to defend yourself)
> > 
> >
> You don't need to defend yourself. You only need a lawyer if  your code 
> makes use (by linking or any other means that makes it a derived work) 
> of GPL'd code, or if someone is not following the terms of your license.
What about the other way around? My code is (out of necessity - I took the
project over with a bunch of friends) GPL and it wants to use OpenSSL (for
instance, let's assume I can't get the exemption from them for the benefit
of discussion) - can I do that without the risk of being sued by the OpenSSL
authors? (OpenSSL being just an example here, of course)

> >>4. in the special cases of perl, python, ruby? stuff, distribute "under 
> >>the same terms as XXX itself".
> >>   
> >>
> >Which _may_ make it incompatible with GPL. For instance, if a hypotetical
> >PHP module (distributed under the PHP license which is incompatible with
> >GPL- thus it breaks the GPL terms) links against libreadline, then it
> >breaks the GPL. This is just insane.
> > 
> >
> I don't know about PHP, but the Perl licensing terms are "Artistic or 
> GPL", so compatible. in doubt, I will rephrase: "under the same terms as 
> XXX versionYYY itself" (so the terms cannot change). You can, still, 
> say, "under the same terms as XXX, any version beyond YYY, or the GPL, 
> in case those terms don't include it" or somesuch.
That's clear, but what about the linking then? If the license of PHP module
XXX is (as recommended @gnu.org) the same as that of PHP (also as per
recommendation @gnu.org) and the PHP license is incompatible with GPL
(again, according to gnu.org) - then the PHP code linking against GPL
library is in violation of the license terms, right?

> >yes, because I'm starting to spend more time resolving legal issues which
> >don't interest me at all than developing code. This is just sick.
> >
> >marek
> >
> > 
> >
> You are 100% right. This is sick.
alas :( Well, I guess the _best_ choice for an open source developer (and
_only_ a mere developer) is to use the 2-clause BSD :)



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