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Bug#284190: ITP: drdsl -- DSL Assistant for AVM DSL/ISDN-Controllers

Matthias Klose wrote:
> CC'ing debian-legal, please could you have a look at the license?

The question being "is this acceptable to go into non-free"?

> The available AVM driver package consists of two portions, namely an Open
> Source Software portion and a Proprietary Source Software portion. The
> Proprietary Source Software portion is delivered in object code format only
> and includes i.e. the lib.o files which, again, include libraries as well
> as specific portions of the driver. The Open Source Software portion is
> licensed under the terms and conditions of the GNU Lesser GPL (LGPL).
> Please be aware of the requirements of the LGPL. You may easily download
> the terms of the LGPL as follows:
> http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html.
> On Debian GNU/Linux systems, the complete text of the GNU Lesser General
> Public License can be found in `/usr/share/common-licenses/LGPL'.
> In general, you may distribute both portions of the available AVM driver
> package, i.e. on a distribution CD delivered in conjunction with your
> products. In addition to the terms of the LGPL and under all AVM
> intellectual property and proprietary rights, AVM grants you the worldwide,
> non-exclusive and royalty-free rights
>  (1)   to use and copy                                                     
>  (2)   to make (and have made), use, import, sell, offer for sale or       
>        otherwise distribute any of your (legal) products or services       
>        containing (portions of) the AVM driver package, and                
>  (3)   to sublicense rights to the extend a license is necessary for using 
>        your products or services.                                          

Up to this point, the license seems acceptable for non-free; it seems to
permit redistribution of the binary-only portion, and the LGPLed portion
is of course acceptable.  However:

> The Proprietary Source Software, which is delivered in object code format
> only, such as the ".o files", shall in no event be disassembled, reverse
> engineered, decompiled or otherwise "be opened" and the results realised
> insofar shall not be copied or distributed without the prior written
> approval of AVM except to the extent as may be expressly authorized under
> mandatory law.

This condition is incompatible with the GNU LGPL.  Clause 6 of the LGPL
states in part:
>   6. As an exception to the Sections above, you may also combine or
> link a "work that uses the Library" with the Library to produce a
> work containing portions of the Library, and distribute that work
> under terms of your choice, provided that the terms permit
> modification of the work for the customer's own use and reverse
> engineering for debugging such modifications.

It goes on to state that distributing object code for relinking is
acceptable, as AVM does.  However, the license on the work as a whole,
including the .o files, does not "permit modification of the work for
the customer's own use and reverse engineering for debugging such

The result is that neither the .o files which link to the library nor
any compiled binary from both the .o files and the library can be

> It is understood that you will be responsible/liable for the software which
> you offer/distribute/make available in conjunction with or which you
> combine with (portions of) the AVM driver package. For instance, we refer
> to the implications mentioned in the LGPL in case of a breach (your rights
> granted under LGPL would terminate automatically, see Art. 4 LGPL).  You
> should state clearly that you offer any necessary support on your own.

This clause doesn't look like a problem.

Summary: non-distributable, because the license on the proprietary
portion does not "permit modification of the work for the customer's own
use and reverse engineering for debugging such modifications", which is
incompatible with the LGPLed portion.

- Josh Triplett

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