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Re: Sun Java available from non-free

Jochen Voss <voss@seehuhn.de> writes:

> What did he/she think about the following clause?

Not that I'm that person (first I heard of any of this was the
announcement), but this seems like as good of a place as any to make the
point that to me is obvious but that no one else seems to be making.

>>     (c) you do not combine, configure or distribute the Software to
>>     run in conjunction with any additional software that implements
>>     the same or similar functionality or APIs as the Software;

The interpretation of that clause rests both on what conjunction means and
on whether one believes the presence of a clearly stated interpretation in
the accompanying FAQ, regardless of disclaimers on that FAQ, might still
constitute estoppel.

Given that Sun has stated that their interpretation of "conjunction" is
basically what Debian would call a derivative work and has done so
publicly in accompanying documentation, I'd be very interested in a legal
opinion on whether they would be barred by estoppel from reneging on that
interpretation and applying the more restrictive interpretations advanced
here at some future date.

The fact that the FAQ says that it's not the license terms and is not
legally binding as such doesn't strike me as necessarily relevant; the
question is not whether the FAQ is a legal document, but rather what
interpretation Sun puts on the words used in the license.  My (non-lawyer)
understanding of estoppel is that public statements like the FAQ, even
with disclaimers attached, are relevant.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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