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Re: [draft] Re: Sun Java available from non-free

Let me first preface this with a caveat and an apology: after the fact
it was pointed out that the mail I sent was needlesly inflamatory;
that was not my intention and for that I apologize. I also appreciate
the desire of Sun to work with Debian in order to create a license
that distributions can distribute; I hope that they continue down this
path and eventually end up at a license for Sun Java that is trivially
DFSG Free.

By commenting on this license, I'm trying to make sure that all of the
possible avenues of attack of a litigous licensor against Debian are
made manifest and the harsh light of flames shown upon them.[0]

I really wish that in the future these sorts of issues could be
resolved publicly, or at least the relevant information from the
parties involved be shared at the instant that such a package begins
to become under consideration for NEW. It seems that more emphasis was
placed on the validity of the FAQ as binding on the intentions of Sun
than someone outside the process of vetting this license could see.

On Fri, 19 May 2006, Jeroen van Wolffelaar wrote:
> On Wed, May 17, 2006 at 11:09:30PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > > 2. License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this
> > >     Agreement, [...] provided that: (a) the Software and any
> > >     proprietary legends or notices are complete and unmodified;
> > 
> > This seems to cause a problem with actually packaging the software
> > unless the Debian package counts as the Software
> The software as distributed is complete, it has all the files in the
> .deb packages, and the dependencies ensure that on the user's system
> the software layout is like Sun requires, with the optional bits
> indeed being optional.

We're currently splitting the package into pieces; and presumably the
software is unpacked or otherwise modified from the form that Sun has
actually distributed to us. I don't know whether Sun has approved this
or not, but if they haven't, this seems to pose a problem.

> The license doesn't impose any restriction on the way it is actually
> distributed,

Sure, but we're creating some sort of derivative work before we
actually distribute it.

> > >     (b) the Software is distributed with your Operating System,
> > >     and such distribution is solely for the purposes of running
> > >     Programs under the control of your Operating System
> > 
> > non-free is not part of Debian so we definetly don't distribute it
> > as part of the Operating system.
> Note that the license says "... is distributed *with* your Operating
> System", and not "is part of". I don't know where you read the "part
> of" bit?

It's the vagueness of the word "with"; do they mean within, alongside
or all of the above? [And are they willing to legally bind themselves
with that interpretation?]

I personally don't buy the non-free is Debian too argument, but then
again, I'm one of the people for whome non-free basically doesn't

> > >     (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;
> > 
> > This means that we can't distribute eclispse or anything else
> > which implements part of the Java API (or if you're going to read
> > this clause as broadly as possible,[1] things like perl which
> > implement similar functionality in that perl is an implementation
> > of a cross platform language Perl.)
> The license says "distribute [...] to run in conjunction with". We
> do distribute eclipse, kaffe, gcj, and various others tools and
> applications, but not "to run in conjunction" with the Sun Java. Our
> own policy even prevents us from doing so unless we move the
> aforementioned stuff to contrib.

No, so long as they're capable of working with things in main but
optionally working with Sun Java they can go in main.

> As to eclipse, if you're going to run eclipse with Sun Java
> (something we do not support in Debian anyway), you're going to use
> eclipse as an application run by Sun Java (to run eclipse itself),
> and Sun Java as an application started by eclipse (Sun javac and
> java etc as a compiler and executer of Java code written in
> Eclipse).

It's not entirely clear that these are not restricted by these clause,
unless there is no overlaping functionality between any application
that can use Sun Java. [As a further note, we do appear to support
this, as eclipse-ecj (FE) Depends: on java2-runtime, which
sun-java5-jre Provides:.]

> What this clause seeks to prevent is using Sun's JVM with the
> Classpath java library, or to use the Java library code together
> with Kaffe.

The resultant thing couldn't be distributed anyway because of clause
2a; seeing a redundant clause like this that seems to also make things
that we probably do in Debian against the license when a previous
clause already does what the licensor is telling you that they want to
do scares me.[1]

> > > 14. MISCELLANEOUS. Any action related to this Agreement will be
> > >     governed by California law and controlling U.S. federal law.
> > >     No choice of law rules of any jurisdiction will apply.
> > 
> > Awwww yeah! Now everyone gets to suffer!
> The infamous choice of venue type clause. As I understand it of
> doubtful legal applicability and consequences, but I don't know much
> about it, so pass.

It was just me pointing out that this license was clearly written by
lawyers used to writting EULAs, so claiming things that are rather
doubtfull is par for the course. [Shoot for the moon, hope that you
get above the ground.] {Also, for the nitpickers, yes, this is a
choice of law clause.}
> > >     It supersedes all prior or contemporaneous oral or written
> > >     communications, [...]
> > 
> > Just in case you had any questions about the total uselessness of
> > the license FAQ, the above clause should put that to rest.
> I'm not familiar with US law, but I think this one is very hard if
> not impossible to hold up in court. Anyway, this clause is not
> relevant indeed if you look at the license on its own merits.

Not in my opinion due to the issues above, especially 2a, 2c, and 4;
furthermore, I don't know how it can be claimed that we were unaware
of the non-binding nature of the FAQ when the FAQ says that it's
non-binding and the license says that it's non-binding.

I'd be very uncomfortable myself distributing a work under this
license; but in the end, it's the ftpmasters who get to make this
decision and who also get put in the unenviable position of having to
defend themselves if something untowards were to happen.[2]

Don Armstrong

0: I've also not been informed that certain coffee pots which do not
exist have been been a bit chilly as of late; knowing the horrid
nature of tepid coffee, I shall continue this thread.

1: I'd like to think that they scare other people too, but it could
just be that I'm always rather cautious of where I stick my head.
Underground is the only safe place for it.

2: I think everyone would agree that such an action would be a PR
disaster for Sun and they're entirely unlikely to ever do so assuming
the trust of the FOSS community remains valuable to them.... but why
not just change the license to be in line with intentions instead of
giving us FAQs? Surely Sun's legal team had to carefully examine every
single word of each.
It was said that life was cheap in Ankh-Morpork. This was, of course,
completely wrong. Life was often very expensive; you could get death
for free.
 -- Terry Pratchet _Pyramids_ p25

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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