Re: Is the xdebug's non-free license necessary?
> So can you say why
>it is a problem with my license, and not with Apache's and PHP's?
Nobody is going to say that, because we think it's a problem with all those
It was a problem with Apache's license. It was not noticed for a long time.
Eventually it was noticed, and it was *fixed* in the Apache License 2.0.
Debian-legal folks had a fair amount of input into that license, and it's
certainly DFSG-free. Actually, you might be interested in it, particularly
6. Trademarks. This License does not grant permission to use the trade names,
trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as
required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the
Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.
The "PHP must not occur in the name" business is still a problem with PHP, and
I certainly think they should change their license for the same reason.
"sudo" has the same unacceptable license.
I think most of us have just been too tired to deal with *all* the
badly-licensed stuff which is already in Debian at once; we hope to get to it
eventually. Feel free to help!
Now, this might make you feel better:
In the US and all common-law countries, you have a trademark regardless of
whether you register it; you get a trademark by using it in a trade. So
Xdebug *is* your trademark already. Therefore people in common law countries
aren't normally allowed to make products with confusingly similar names (like
RealXdebug) -- *regardless* of what you put in your copyright license. :-)
(On the other hand, products can legally use names like TeXDebug,
UnofficialAddonsForXDebug, etc., which are *not* going to cause confusion.)
Unfortunately, trademarks apparently don't work that way in civil law
countries, and only arise through registration (with certain exceptions such
as your own name). Even if registered, though, non-confusing uses (TeXDebug,
UnofficialAddonsForXDebug) appear to be allowed in most countries.
So this difference is probably why people in civil law countries want to write
"pseudo-trademarks" into their copyright agreements often. However, it's
still important to do this correctly: prohibiting *any* name containing
Xdebug is significantly broader than any trademark (that I've heard of)
allows, and that's why we don't like it. If the restrictions were equivalent
to or less than ordinary trademark restrictions, I would consider them Free;
but they're stronger.
The other problem is that Debian packages routinely *are* derived works, since
Debian maintainers often need to add patches; this sort of license doesn't
allow them to use the same name as upstream without getting extra permission
(or breaking the license, which is what the PHP packages are presumably
doing; bugs should be filed).
Hence my suggested alternative: require that any derived work make clear that
it wasn't the original XDebug. I think that would effectively prohibit
"RealXDebug". "XDebugPlus" would be allowed but would have to have large
prominent notices saying "THIS IS NOT XDEBUG".