[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: System libraries and the GPLv2

On 30/03/17 21:09, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Lars Wirzenius <liw@liw.fi> writes:
>> Instead, I'll repeat that licenses shouldn't be violated. One way of
>> achieving that is to ask copyright holders for additional permissions
>> that are needed to avoid a violation.
> The problem with this approach, though, is that many of us have tried this
> with GPL software that links against OpenSSL and have been told that we're
> being pedantic, wasting the maintainer's time, and they aren't going to
> include any such specific license grant because they're not lawyers,
> aren't going to mess with licenses, no one else has this problem, and
> Debian needs to pull the stick out of its ass.
> Now one can just say "well, we don't want to package software from
> maintainers like that anyway," but often those people are perfectly
> reasonable on many other topics and quite good upstreams.  We are widely
> viewed as out of step with the community on this specific point, whether
> reasonably or unreasonably.
> I'm not saying we're wrong, necessarily, but the way that Debian interacts
> with software licenses is truly not the way that nearly everyone else
> interacts with software licenses.  We have non-lawyers with no legal
> training read them carefully and attempt to apply their rules as if they
> were written in normal English, very precisely.  (In other words, we treat
> them like they're computer programs.)  Very, very few people outside of
> Debian do this.  Elsewhere, people largely divide into two camps: a quick
> skim looking for obvious issues followed by "meh, good enough," or review
> by an actual lawyer who is making a legal decision based on legal
> interpretation, case law, and a risk analysis.
> I think we normally arrive at reasonable conclusions, but sometimes we do
> arrive at conclusions that neither of those other two camps reach, and
> then we can look oddly out of touch.

Couldn't agree more with you.

Programmers shouldn't try to interpret corner cases on licenses,
or judge about license compatibility.

What the text of a license says is never interpreted word by word by a
lawyer or a tribunal. The intention is also very important.

And when you release a software that uses OpenSSL, there is a clear
intention in that fact that you allow to use OpenSSL. After all, you
have implemented support for it.

I think we should try to consult more with lawyers when we have doubts,
or when there is a disagreement about licenses in general.

It worked for the ZFSOnLinux case.
I think it can work also for this system library exception issue.

My 2 cents.

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: OpenPGP digital signature

Reply to: