Re: Please comment on IBPP licensing
Damyan Ivanov <firstname.lastname@example.org> asked for comments on:
> * 0. Definitions
> o 0.1. IBPP
> 'IBPP' is primarily a set of programming interfaces,
> initially written in the C++ language, which makes it easier to develop
> any other programming work which need to communicate and work with
> Firebird, a SQL-based database engine and server, and possibly other
> similar engines and servers. Further in this document we also name
> 'IBPP' the source code itself which implements those interfaces and any
> associated files whatever their nature.
> o 0.2. TIP
> 'TIP' is the company T.I.P. Group S.A., a legal entity,
> registered in the Kingdom of Belgium under the enterprise identification
> number 0.429.942.927. Contact information: http://www.tipgroup.com.
Most of the two above should be in README and AUTHORS, in my opinion.
> o 0.3. Authors
> 'Authors' is the college of private persons or legal
> entities, including TIP, who at least once contributed to IBPP.
College? What law is this drafted for?
> * 1. Copyrights
> The very initial version of IBPP (0.9) was released in the year
> 2000 by TIP. Through this initial contribution, TIP holds a Copyright
> (c) 2000 on that original version of IBPP.
> In addition, each and every private person or legal entity,
> including TIP, who since contributed or contribute to IBPP hold a shared
> Copyright (c) <year of contribution> with TIP on that portion of code
> they contribute, wether the contribution is made by modification or
> addition to the source code or associated files.
Spelling error s/wether/whether/ already. First of many.
> * 2. Rights
> Without damage of the duties exposed at article 3., the Authors
Confusing wording: lawyerbomb?
> hereby grant the following permissions, free of charge, to any private
> person or legal entity (hereafter "You"):
Permission not granted to public legal entities (UK = plcs, royal charter
corporations IIRC). Breaks DFSG 5 (No Discrimination Against Persons) or
6 (No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour).
> 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.
Restriction on use: we might not agree that something is effectively
making use. Lawyerbomb, possibly breaking DFSG 3 (Derived Works).
> o 2.2. Right to Modify
> To develop modifications or additions which enhance or fix IBPP.
Restriction on modification: we might not agree that something is an
enhancement. Lawyerbomb, possibly breaking DFSG 3 (Derived Works).
> o 2.3. Right to Publish
> To publish the IBPP source code along with your own source
> code which uses it.
No permission to copy alone? Might not be free software at all
(doesn't give freedom 2) but can be made so trivially.
> * 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.
Forced donation upstream of work. I regard this as a payment or
royalty on derived works, breaking DFSG 1 (Free Redistribution).
I know others disagree, but I don't understand their reasoning.
> o 3.2. Duty to play by the rules when publishing the IBPP
> source code
> When You publish the IBPP source code with your own source
> code which uses it, You must also publish this license.txt file and You
> must not remove any of the licensing and copyright texts located near
> the beginning of the IBPP source code files.
No-op in many (all?) copyright laws.
> 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.
Not sure about the accuracy of this claim of "the final solution".
> * 4. New versions of this License
> TIP is the only entity who can publish new versions of this
> license and attach such new license versions to any future version of
> IBPP. Though if doing so, TIP cannot remove any right previously granted
Confusing first sentence: does future version include derived works?
> by this version 1.0 of the license, nor can TIP add duties restricting
> those previous rights further. New rights and / or duties might though
> be added if the nature of IBPP (article 0.1) evolve in the future or if
> components of a different nature are added to IBPP. A new license
> version might also be required if some words of this version needed to
> be corrected or changed to make things even more clear and precise.
> * 5. Disclaimer of Warranty
> IBPP IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
> IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
> FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL
> THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR
> OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE,
> ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR
> OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
Should not be capitalised, in my opinion. Could it be merged with 3.3?
> Retrieved from http://www.editthis.info/ibpp/index.php/License
In conclusion, I think any software under this licence alone is
not free software, not having freedom 2 and breaking DFSGs 1,
3, 5 and/or 6. If the Authors are willing to drop the payment
clause 3.1, it may be worth switching to a more widely-used
licence with broadly similar effect, such as a BSD-style or
MIT/Expat one (if non-copyleft and clause 4 is harmless).
CC'd to Bug#334489, flamerobin's WNPP bug, which you say may be
under a similar licence.
Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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