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Re: Please comment on IBPP licensing

On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 20:40:16 +0200 Damyan Ivanov wrote:

> Either way, I need your comments about DFSG-compatibility of IBPP
> license. Note that this license is newly accomodated after leaving MPL
> (partly due to me arguing against MPL), so the intent is to make it
> free.
> License can be found at [3], attached here for reference.
> My humble opinion is that it is almost DFSG-free. The only problem
> section is 3.1 (requires changes to be sent to upstream).

Apart from clause 3.1 (which must be dropped anyway, if DFSG-freeness is
sought), this license seems to try to grant a set of permissions not too
different from the ones granted by the Expat a.k.a. MIT license

If I were you, I would try to persuade upstream to adopt the Expat
license, rather than this contorted and unclear license.
Writing a new license is a difficult and long task and should be avoided
unless strictly necessary. Adopting an existing, clear and well
understood license (such as the Expat one) is almost always far better.

That said, my comments on the license text follow...

>     * 0. Definitions

These "definitions" are really informative and should not belong in a
license text.

>     * 1. Copyrights

This is useless too (if not troublesome).
Copyright rules are dictated by your jurisdiction's laws, not by a

>     * 2. Rights
>       Without damage of the duties exposed at article 3., the Authors
> hereby grant the following permissions, free of charge, to any private
> person or legal entity (hereafter "You"):
>           o 2.1. Right to Use
>             To use (edit when required, compile and link) the IBPP
> source code as part of a larger programming work which effectively
> makes use of some or all of the functionnalities offered by IBPP.

This is a bit too restrictive, as already noted by Walter Landry.

>           o 2.3. Right to Publish
>             To publish the IBPP source code along with your own source
> code which uses it.

Cannot I publish the IBPP source code alone all by itself?

>     * 3. Duties
>           o 3.1. Duty to give modifications back to IBPP Authors
>             Any modification or addition done to IBPP will be
>             submitted
> to the Authors, so that those modifications or additions can be
> reviewed, possibly modified or fixed, and eventually merged in a new
> version of IBPP, if the modification is found by the Authors to be of
> interest to the IBPP users community.

This is non-free, since it discriminate against people who are unable to
communicate back to the Authors (DFSG#5).

>           o 3.3. Duty to free IBPP Authors from any responsability
>             When You use IBPP in your programming works, You
>             implicitely
> agree to free the Authors from any and all responsability. You fully
> endorse IBPP and assume all consequences of using it in your
> programming works. This goes to the extent that, should the IBPP code
> be found to infringe on the copyright or patent of any third-party
> entity, you assume the entire responsability regarding your own
> programming works which use IBPP. You always a least have the final
> solution not to use IBPP anymore in your programming works.

This could be very problematic in jurisdictions where not all
responsibilities can be effectively disclaimed.

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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