Re: PHP non-free or wrongly named?
Martin Schulze wrote:
> I've been informed about details of the PHP license:
> For php3:
> 5. The name "PHP" must not be used to endorse or promote products
> derived from this software without prior written permission
> from the PHP Development Team. This does not apply to add-on
> libraries or tools that work in conjunction with PHP. In such
> a case the PHP name may be used to indicate that the product
> supports PHP.
> For php4:
> 4. Products derived from this software may not be called "PHP", nor
> may "PHP" appear in their name, without prior written permission
> from firstname.lastname@example.org. You may indicate that your software works in
> conjunction with PHP by saying "Foo for PHP" instead of calling
> it "PHP Foo" or "phpfoo"
> Since Debian is (or at least may be) distributing patches in their
> packages that are not part of upstream, we are distributing a derived
> product and hence must not name it PHP.
> This does not only affect Debian but also other distributions of PHP
> that are trying to enhance or fix PHP in some ways.
I've sent this letter to the PHP group:
we are a group of developers that build up an entire GNU/Linux system
based on the Linux kernel, GNU utilities and a lot of other software.
It is named Debian GNU/Linux <http://www.debian.org/>, you may already
have heard about it.
Recently we stomped over a paragraph in the license of PHP4 and wonder
if we are allowed to distribute PHP4 packages at all, now and in the
Here's the license except that left us wondering:
4. Products derived from this software may not be called "PHP", nor
may "PHP" appear in their name, without prior written permission
from email@example.com. You may indicate that your software works in
conjunction with PHP by saying "Foo for PHP" instead of calling
it "PHP Foo" or "phpfoo"
We can indeed think of a problematic situation when we develop
patches, broken or not, that are applied to the PHP4 source package
when building the package. These could be improvements, corrections,
extensions or just security fixes.
If we need to contact you as upstream for each and every change, we'd
have to decide whether PHP4 is distributable at all and needs to be
moved to non-free or not.
So basically, this boils down to
Are arbitrary organisations or developers allowed to modify the PHP4
source and redistribute it and still calling it PHP4?
[ ] yes, they are
[ ] no, they are not, but calling the result something else is fine
[ ] no, they are not at all
>From reading the above license except we fear that the second answer
will be yours, but we better ask yourself.
According to our own guidelines a permission of the above for only
the Debian project would not be sufficient, since it would render the
license Debian-specific which it must not:
Even though this is a private mail, I would like to publish your
answer, so please take into account when writing a response that it
will most probably show up on the debian-legal mailing list where
this issue is discussed. If you don't like this, please send be a
short answer stating that you don't wish to be quoted in public.
Andi Gutmans <firstname.lastname@example.org> answered and told me that he speaks
for the PHP Group:
| As per your problem, having such a clause in the BSD-like license
| is the way both Apache and PHP have been enforcing and protecting
| their brand for a long time. Minor build changes and backported
| security fixes are fine and if that's all you're doing there is no
| need to rename the package. The problems arise when you start
| making significant changes to the actual functionality of the
| The license clause and intent is identical in the Apache license
| which we believe you are also shipping.
So as soon as our maintainer or security team adds more than onlyh
"build changes and backported security fixes", we'll have to rename
the PHP (and Apache) packages.
If nothing changes, everything will remain the same. -- Barne's Law
Please always Cc to me when replying to me on the lists.