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Re: licensing confusion

Marek Habersack <grendel@debian.org> writes:

> 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 :)

There's no logic within ten miles of a lawyer.  In fact, if you get
close enough, logic goes negative.

>> >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)

I don't know about that, but can't the author simply ignore any rights
he might not be able to give up?

>> (b) if you want maximum compatibility, 2-clause BSD is ideal. (because 
>> any derived work can further restrain distribution)
> OK, so BSD it is.

Now I'm confused.  I've heard of the 4-clause (advertising) version,
and the 3-clause version without the advertising clause.  What's this
2-clause BSD license you're talking about?

>> >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)

According to the FSF that wouldn't be allowed.  However, there is
reason to think about it:

1. The GPL relies on the term "derived work", for which there is no
exact definition commonly agreed upon.
2. There is some indication that an API can't isn't by copyright (sorry,
I lost the reference).
3. If 2 is false, the FSF are violating the OpenSSL copyright by
creating a compatible interface for gnutls.
4. The GPL can be circumvented by a couple of layers of runtime
dynamic linking, as done by KDE.

>> >>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.

It's worse than that.  The Perl license is GPL compatible so perl
modules are allowed to link with GPL libraries.  Now suppose someone
writes a perl module that uses readline and someone else writes a
module using openssl.  What happens if these modules are loaded at the
same time?  Before using a perl module you'd have to check not only
what license it uses, but also how any libraries it might use are
licensed, and so on.  Of course, this is just what the FSF preaches.
The reality might be different, depending on the phase of the moon
during a trial.

Måns Rullgård

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