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C-FSL: a new license for software from elstel.org

Dear Fellows of the Debian Legal List,

Currently most of the software available via my homepage www.elstel.org is under S-FSL, a license which guarantees free usage and certain modification rights but which is not a true open source license. Debian packages would have been available for many such programs including xchroot, confinedrv, bundsteg (something to print with an inner margin) or debcheckroot (debsums like security tool). However as non-OSS these programs are neither allowed to enter Debian repositories nor could they attract many contributors. Some more software is in the pipeline as well like a novellized Linux port of the CoAn automaton simulator. In order to improve the situation and make this software available to a broader public I have once more designed a completely new license from scratch: the so called 'Convertible Free Software License'. It shall give the group of main contributors the additional right to re-license like that is the case for the various BSD licenses. Organizations or people who have not contributed to the development on the other hand will be given no such additional right. C-FSL is meant as a new true and strong but still comparably clear and simple OSS license. It would be nice if you took the time to have a look on it, what you think about it in general and how it would meet its goals as expressed above. The current version of the license is v0.8. It is still a draft basically open for changes and has not been applied to any program yet.

Elmar Stellnberger

P.S.: Here comes the current draft (v0.8) of the license:

	Version 0.8, 2016-01-21 , *** This is just a draft ***
copyright 2016, by Elmar Stellnberger
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document. You must not modify the license itself. This license applies to any software containing a notice by the copyright holder saying that it may be used under the terms of the Convertible Free Software License. If a specific version number is mentioned then usage rights include this version as well as any newer version which will always be similar in spirit to this license. The term Convertible Free Software license may be abbreviated as C-FSL.

1. Any work under this license comes completely without any warranty or any kind of liability such as lost revenues, profits, harm or damage of any kind even if the authors should have been advised of the possibility of such harm or damage. It may be seen as research work and does not claim for fitness to any particular usage purpose.

2. The term 'source code' applies to the preferred form that is used to develop or apply changes to a work under this license referred to herein as 'the work'. You are allowed to modify or change the source code if you accept that the resulting changed work will become subject to this license. As soon as you apply any change this is an implicit consent to fully comply with this license and a consent that the work may be used under this license.

3. It is your obligation that the changed version of your sources will be available to the public for free. Available for free means that there will be no undue hinderance in obtaining the given item like a registration of the person who wants to download or obtain the given item. Available for free also means that you must not charge for the given item itself apart from the possibility to require a reasonable charge for the physical reproduction of the data.

4. You are allowed to issue an 'automatic derivation process' on the source code which will result in so called 'object code'. As soon as you wanna share the object code with other people you are oblidged to make all utilities and data necessary to obtain the object code either availabel under C-FSL or any other open source license approved by opensource.org. The given data and utilities need to be available to the public for free.

5. When appyling changes to the source code you need to leave your name, your email address and the date of your modifications so that other people may contact you. We suggest to list all changes by contributors either in a separate changelog file or in the header of the changed file. Furthermore you need to give your changed version a 'marker' which may be used to distinguish it from the upstream version when being distributed to other people. The distributed product needs to be of the form upstream name - dash upstream version - dash your marker optionally followed by a version number under your control. The marker needs to be unique, at least two letters in size. We suggest it to reflect the name of your company or distribution.

6. You may choose to create a fork of a work under C-FSL by giving it a completely different name. However you need to assert that people will know that your fork is based on the original work. If your program has a graphical user interface the whole C-FSL license as well as in case of a fork a complete reference to the base product including email address and web presence must be accesssible via the GUI. Otherwise a plain text copy of this license as well as the aformentioned reference to the base product where applicable need to be given and packed alongside the distributed product. If your program has a comprehensive help, a manual or info page and is a fork the base product needs to be fully referred to there including a contact email and web presence. It does not apply to quick or short command line help output as long as a more comprehensive help page is also available.

7. Contributing to a work under C-FSL means that you will give a group called the 'original authors' a consensus based right to re-license your derived work so that it will be available under both licenses: the C-FSL and the newly applied license. The original authors are the group of people who have initially started to create a work. They shall be mentioned at the beginning of the changelog or the file header of changes. As soon as there is a consensus to do so by all original authors the work may either be re-licensed, published as upstream version without a marker or new people may be accepted and mentioned as 'original authors'.

8. No work under C-FSL shall be deemed part of an effective measure under anti-circumvention laws like under article 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty adopted on 1996-12-20 or any similar law. You must assert that the right to use, modify, generate object code and distribute any software under C-FSL will not be infringed by patent claims or similar law. Every contributor grants by the act of contributing to a work under C-FSL a non-exclusive, worldwide and royalty-free patent license to any prospective contributor or user of the given work applicable to all his 'essential patemt claims'. The essential patent claims comprise all claims owned or controlled by the contributor.

9. A work under C-FSL which is used as a component, plug-in, add-on of another product, which is combined or which links against another work needs either to be put under an open source license as approved by opensource.org or it needs to be put under C-FSL as well. Usage of proprietary libraries and kernel modules pose an exception to this rule. There must be a functionally equivalent open source library for any proprietary library which is required by a work under C-FSL in order to run and execute. No such restriction applies to kernel modules. The term 'kernel' refers to the core of an operating system. Libraries which provide operating system services use a well defined binary interface but do not 'link' against the kernel. Libraries are separated components which link against the given work or other components. The term 'linking' refers to the relocation of references or addresses when the library is combined with another component in order to make the combined aggregate executable or runnable. Such references are typically bound to symbols which are part of the common interface between the library and the component which the library is combined with at runtime.

10. This license is either governed by the Laws of Austria or by the laws of any member state of the European Union where the first mentioned original author lives or is a resident. Disputes shall be settled by the nearest proper court given the home town or location of the first original author. If any of the terms stated in this license were not in accordance with the law of the country that governs this license all other parts of the license shall remain valid.

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