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Re: why is graphviz package non-free?

Scripsit Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org>
> On Wed, Jan 12, 2005 at 08:57:14PM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:

>> This is the Common Public License, version 1.0, with the revision
>> right solely tied to IBM.  This is a bit surprising, but doesn't have
>> any impact on the DFSG-freeness of the this license.

> Kinda indicates to me that the authors haven't read the license. Which
> would be rather pathetic.

Hm. The intent seems to be to do something like #9 of the GNU GPL, but
on rereading it, I'm not sure the attempt has succeeded.

In particular, the user does not have a choice bewteen "this version
or, at your option, any later version" and "this version and only
that". CPL point 3, second half, (a), requires that all redistribution
of source takes place under the unchanged CPL, which allows a recpient
to use a license revision that IBM publishes later.

In effect, this boils down to "You may only modify and distribute if
you agree to give IBM the right to later allow somebody else to use
your modified code in some way not specified here".

For example, IBM might publish an amended version with a new clause

   8. As a special exception, if you are a New York corporation
      registered under the name "International Business Machine
      Corporation", you may distribute produce works derived from the
      Program without being bound by any of the conditions set forth
      in sections 3 and 4.

which would then apply retroactively to any modified version of
graphviz that anybody has distributed under this license.

I am not convinced that this is free, but I strongly doubt that the
people at graphviz org intended it either.

Henning Makholm                                      "Punctuation, is? fun!"

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