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Re: [PHP-QA] Debian and the PHP license

Le Fri, Aug 01, 2014 at 04:59:11PM +0100, Ian Jackson a écrit :
> Draft question for SFLC:
> Some members of the Debian project have some concerns about the PHP
> licence.  These worries are dismissed by other members and by relevant
> upstreams.  We would like some advice.

Hello Ian and everybody,

I think that it is important that a few of the ‘some members’ would identify
themselves in support for that request, and explain what they would do if the
worries expressed below turned out to be true. 

Among the Debian Developers, some have more stakes in the packages than others.
Members of the FTP team may remove the packages or ask them to move to
non-free; members of the release team can remove them from Stable and Testing;
members from the security team can refuse to support the packages; the
maintainers of the packages can orphan or abandon them.  Lastly, any Debian
Developer can start a General Resolution.

If the only support for contacting lawyers comes from Developers who have the
least stakes in the question (GR only), then we should really consider if the
work that we are about to ask to the lawyers will be wasted in the trash bin
instead of being seriously considered.

Here are two other coments on the text itself.

> Q4. Does the fact that the PHP licence conditions about the use of the
>    PHP name are contained in the actual copyright licence, rather than
>    in a separate trademark licence, significantly increase the risks
>    we would face if we had a disagreement with upstream about our
>    modifications (or our failure to seek approval) ?

Note that PHP does not hold a trademark on the PHP name and therefore
can not grant a trademark license.

> Sadly we must consider in this context the fact that it does happen -
> thankfully rarely - that an upstream takes offence to something Debian
> does and attempts to revoke or renounce the licence or claim that the
> licence forbids.  It is important to us that we can still, under such
> conditions, continue to distribute the software (perhaps under a
> different name), since we may have come to rely on it.

It is important to note that clarifications on the PHP license have already
been given by PHP developers.  The question is then if they are free to revert
their clarifications and use a new interpretation of their license to force
Debian to stop distributing or modifying PHP and its modules.

Have a nice week-end,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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