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Re: custom license (package: mgen)

On Sat, 20 Aug 2011 09:17:22 +0200 Raoul Borenius wrote:

> Dear debian-legal readers,
> upstream provides the following custom license in
> their software that I'd like to see in Debian:

Dear Raoul,
this looks like the n-th sad attempt to reinvent the wheel.
The license you quoted seems to be substantially equivalent to the old
4-clause BSD license.

Why, oh why, do people continue to add to license proliferation?
They really cannot resist, it seems.   :-(

I'll save your time and avoid inserting my usual rant against the
drafting of brand new useless licenses (license proliferation is bad
because it increases legal uncertainty and adds complexity to license
compatibility and interaction analysis, etc., etc., ...).

We need more Free Software, not more licenses!

> Especially (3) could be problematic?

As I anticipated above, the quoted license seems to be substantially
equivalent to the old 4-clause BSD license, just with a different
If the equivalence is indeed substantially valid, as it appears to be,
then the license meets the DFSG, is a non-copyleft license, but is
GPL-incompatible due to clause (3).
Clause (3) is an obnoxious advertising clause (see
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html ) which, while not being enough
to make the license fail to meet the DFSG, is indeed obnoxious: you
should try and persuade upstream to drop this clause (just as
University of California, Berkeley did with their original BSD license:
see ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change ).

Even better, you should try and persuade upstream to switch to a
well-known and widely used (DFSG-free and GPL-compatible) license, such
as the 3-clause BSD license: http://www.debian.org/misc/bsd.license

> Thanks for helping me out!

Thanks to you for taking these legal aspects seriously!
I hope my reply may be of some help.

 New GnuPG key, see the transition document!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82  3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE

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