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Re: flowc license

On Mon, Feb 07, 2005 at 08:32:32PM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:
> * Radu Spineanu:
> > I was looking over flowc[1], and wondering if i could package
> > it. However i am not sure about the license[2]. It contains some
> > restrictions about distribution:
> >
> > '3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this
> > software must display the following acknowledgment: "This product
> > includes software developed by the Uninet Ltd and Taras Shevchenko Kiev
> > University".' is one of them.
> This was part of the original BSD license, which is considered DFSG-free
> by tradition.
> > As i understand i have to add that acknowledgment in the description
> > field, no ?
> I don't think so.

This issue comes up periodically, especially when dealing with ancient
BSD-ish code. I'm still in the process of dealing with something like
15,000 files under such licenses (NetBSD source tree).

The short summary, as best I can make out from past debian-legal, is:

1) Definitely GPL incompatible.

2) Distasteful to many.

3) Either very trivial or very difficult for Debian to fufill, depending
on what the copyright holder considers 'advertising materials mentioning
features or use of this software'.

4) The DFSG tradition is muddy (at best) on whether it refers to the
4-clause or 3-clause variant of the license - and what people viewed it as
when they agreed to abide by the DFSG may have changed over time.

Due to 1-4, whether it's permitted is a hazy question at best, and probably
needs *at least* a clarification from the copyright holder about what they
consider to be relevant to fufilling clause 3. But in my experience, when
contacting authors, a great many of them simply copied boilerplate from an
old BSD license, and if you discuss with them the rationale given by the
University of California when they mass-retroactively-relicensed from the
4-clause to 3-clause license, they may well be quite happy to relicense.

They may not bother to do an update release just for that, but a permission
statement saying that it is retroactively relicensed to the 3-clause, more
permissive license which goes into the copyright file, and a note that
the next release should have the updated copyright notices/licenses, will
generally suffice for Debian.
Joel Aelwyn <fenton@debian.org>                                       ,''`.
                                                                     : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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