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Re: OpenSolaris license

On Thu, 2005-07-21 at 19:23 +0100, Alvaro Lopez Ortega wrote:
> Hi all,
>    I would like to know what do you guys think about the CDDL license
>    [1].  Does it meet with the Debian Free Software Guidelines?

First of all, please paste the entire license in the mail, so that if
people use things like offline IMAP or POP3, they can read the mail even
if they're not online.  It also takes a lot less bandwidth for dialup
users to read a mail than to read a web page.

Second of all, I'd like to point out that we have archives of our
mailing lists, and even if you couldn't find those, we have *Google*.
Try searching for OpenSolaris debian-legal .  This will point you to the
most relevant articles.

I believe the conclusion[0] (stated by the illustrious Mr. Suffield) was
that it is a lawyerbomb.

It is my opinion that "Exhibit A"-style licenses suck, hard.  They are
confusing and attempt to define everything under the sun (no pun

My analysis of it follows:

0. Offering a warranty is not allowed, because it requires that one
indemnify others, which is obviously not free.
1. Section 6.1 is unacceptable for Debian, which does not have an army
of lawyers looking for people to sue.  Debian's patent policy is that we
ignore patents which are not actively enforced and do not seek out
knowledge about the existence or validity of patents.  Therefore,
anything which conflicts with that policy would be undistributable by
2. Section 8 is redundant and superfluous.
3. Section 9 should not allow usage of jurisdictional specification, as
if a jurisdiction is specified, that would be non-free because of
choice-of-venue.  For example, the notice on [1] is unacceptable.
4. I don't like the wording of Section 3.2.  Contrast this:

  The Modifications that You create or to which You contribute are
  governed by the terms of this License. You represent that You believe
  Your Modifications are Your original creation(s) and/or You have
  sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License.

with this:

  You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
  whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
  part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
  parties under the terms of this License. ... These requirements apply
  to the modified work as a whole.  If identifiable sections of that
  work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably
  considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this
  License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you
  distribute them as separate works.  But when you distribute the same
  sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the
  distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose
  permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus
  to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

Basically, it's trying to borg code that isn't even related (and
licensed, say, under the MIT License) if that code is incorporated into
OpenSolaris.  I would be more comfortable if it didn't try to relicense
my code without my permission (and yes, I know that with the MIT License
sublicensing is allowed, but it's not the same as being "governed by the
terms of this License").  I'm picking a nit here.

I'm not sure if this license is free or not, but I sure wouldn't want my
code to be licensed under it.  I definitely agree it's a lawyerbomb.
And OpenSolaris, as packaged, is non-free, because of the

>    The first thing I want to do is to be ensure everything is ok with
>    the license.  After that, we can start discussing all the rest of
>    the issues.

I think the closest to Debian you're currently going to get is non-free,
and that's if it's distributable.

If you can get Sun to dual-license under the GNU General Public License,
that would help, because then we could use it under those terms, which
are certainly free.  After all, the stated reasons not to use the GNU
General Public License that I have read are based on the fact that Sun
wants to use proprietary software with the system, which is fine, but
Debian cannot do that, since Debian would have to extirpate any code
that was proprietary anyway.

I would love to use some code from OpenSolaris, if it were


[0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/12/msg00007.html
[1] http://www.opensolaris.org/os/downloads/

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