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Re: license issuse in qterm



On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 15:56:56 +0800 LI Daobing wrote:

> Hello,

Hi!

[...]
> qterm is release under GPL-2+ as a whole, and the source files are
> released under GPL-2+, LGPL-2.1+, BSD-2 and others.
> 
> qterm/ssh/getput.h is released under following license[1]. And I don't
> know whether it's OK to distribute it as GPL-2+, or whether it fulfill
> DFSG, thanks.
> 
> [1]
> $ cat qterm/ssh/getput.h | head -15
> /*      $OpenBSD: getput.h,v 1.8 2002/03/04 17:27:39 stevesk Exp $    
>  */
> 
> /*
>  * Author: Tatu Ylonen <ylo@cs.hut.fi>
>  * Copyright (c) 1995 Tatu Ylonen <ylo@cs.hut.fi>, Espoo, Finland
>  *                    All rights reserved
>  * Macros for storing and retrieving data in msb first and lsb first
>  * order.
>  *
>  * As far as I am concerned, the code I have written for this software
>  * can be used freely for any purpose.  Any derived versions of this
>  * software must be clearly marked as such, and if the derived work is
>  * incompatible with the protocol description in the RFC file, it must
>  * be called by a name other than "ssh" or "Secure Shell".
>  */

IMHO, this permission statement is vague and less than clear, but the
intentions of the licensor seem to be compatible with the DFSG (taking
DFSG#4 into account).

Unfortunately, it seems to me that this permission statement is *not*
compatible with the GNU GPL v2 or with the GNU GPL v3, due to the
renaming constraint, which is a restriction not present in the GNU GPL
v2 or v3 (nor allowed by GPLv3's Section 7).
However, please note that the authority on GPL-compatibility is the FSF:
you could contact them, if you are seeking an authoritative answer on
the compatibility issue.

If this file is part of qterm, I think that qterm is currently legally
undistributable.
Possible solutions are (in descending order of desirability):

 (a) contact Tatu Ylonen and persuade him to relicense the file in a
     GPL-compatible manner

 (b) find a GPL-compatible replacement for that file

 (c) contact *all* the copyright holders for the GPL'ed parts of qterm
     (and the libraries it links against!) and ask them to add an
     exception to their licensing that permits mixing (or linking) their
     code with that GPL-incompatible file  [don't get upset if someone
     says no: personally, I would not allow anyone to mix my GPL'ed
     code with such a file...]

Good luck!


Important disclaimers: IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.

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