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Re: Debian Legal summary of the X-Oz License

On Tue, Mar 02, 2004 at 09:18:57PM -0800, Ben Reser wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 03, 2004 at 04:04:22AM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> > "Redo my work, Branden"?
> No, I think them making statements directly here is more effective than
> me relaying them.  Like I said in another email.  If they don't answer
> by tomorrow I'll forward the message.
> Further, I didn't ask as specific of questions as Branden did.  
> Having his questions answered is more useful in the long run than just
> the email I have.  At least when it comes to Clause 3.  I think my
> alternative questions that I posted on the list (which I didn't not ask
> in private email) are more likely to resolve the problem with Clause 4.
> Or at least resolve it in a way that avoids unclear language and stops
> the continued use of the questionable clause.

Seeing as they didn't reply I'm attaching the message I received from
them in response to my initial email.

Ben Reser <ben@reser.org>

"Conscience is the inner voice which warns us somebody may be looking."
- H.L. Mencken
--- Begin Message ---
From: "Ben Reser" <ben@reser.org>
To: <mgr@x-oz.com>
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 9:02 PM
Subject: X-Oz License

> I'm writing because I'm seeking some clarification of your X-Oz license.

Thanks for asking Ben.  I see from reser.org that you are a Mandrake
and so it's always good to speak someone from there especially since there
has been
so much mis-communication about our donation to XFree86 and Mandrake's
stance on it.

> In paritcular Clause 4, which says:
> "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."
> Can you explain what this means?  How does it differ (if at all) from
> the meaning of the traditional BSD endorsement clause:
> "Neither the name of the <ORGANIZATION> nor the names of its
> contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from
> this software without specific prior written permission."
> Is there a particular reason why you chose this wording over the
> traditional BSD wording?

We were looking for wording that was very close to and used in the original
XFree86 license.
Our reasoning was that the closer the words were to XF86 license the better
for obvious reasons.
This particular clause is actually exactly how both the non-endorsement
restiction is expressed the
X.Org license and the XFree86 license dervied from that.

Our intent is the same as for the traditional BSD endorsement clause.

> There is a great deal of debate about the freeness of this clause.  It

A debate I totally do not understand, because if this clause is not free,
then both the X.Org and
 the old XFree86 licenses are not free either!  Someone really needs to
explain that one to me.

> has been suggested that this clause would prohibit attribution of
> software licensed under it to X-Oz Technologies.  E.G. I couldn't say:
> "This copy of XFree86 contains the loader enhancements from X-Oz
> Technologies."

Since the third clause both permits,  and requires, attribution we think
that this is a
non-issue. The fourth clause is intended specifically to disallow
endorsement, but _not_
to disallow either attributions or straightforward descriptions like you
have suggested
and I was surprised when I read that interpretation frankly.

> Other people have gone so far as to suggest that it might prohibit a
> magazine review of the software.

Yes, I have seen that said,  but I don't know how that conclusion was made
But no matter, because this is definitely not our intent, and more
importantly I think that such a restriction would be contrary to the very
basic freedom of speech in our Bill of Rights
and there is no way that we would ever support a license that even hinted in

> I don't believe any of this is your intent.  Rather than continuing ot
> speculate on what you mean.  I thought I would write you an email to
> request your interpretation.
> Thanks.

And more importantly, thank you  for taking the time to clear
the air and bring these issues up directly with us.  Many of them, we
have heard second or third hand, and are never sure if they were factual
recordings or gross mis-interpretations.  It's best to discuss amicably so
everything can be easily sorted out.

I imagine that you are writing primarily because Mandrake's concerns
and I do hope that I have allayed them.  I can honestly that we at X-Oz
do sincerely hope that Mandrake does  take our donations to XFree86 in the
because I, personally, have used and liked that particular distribution
and more importantly I think it is far more important for open-source/free
enthusiasts to band together against the real enemy:  closed source and not
amongst ourselves.

Thanks again and best of luck to you and your ventures,


You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a
man is wise by his questions. - Naguib Mahfouz


--- End Message ---

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