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Re: Please pass judgement on X-Oz licence: free or nay?

On Sun, Aug 08, 2004 at 11:35:10PM -0500, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> Now, I can infer one of three things:
> 1. You had off-list contact with the X-Oz people before the license was
> analyzed here on -legal, and did not communicate their non-standard
> interpretation of that clause back to us for the summary.
> 2. You can travel through time, and went back to prepare the summary
> with the knowledge that X-Oz had weird license interpretations.
> 3. You are confusing the order in which events happened (I suppose this
> is not really in conflict with the above).
> I suppose 1) is possible, but I find 3) most likely.

David Dawes, who is the founder of X-Oz Technologies, was asked many
questions about the meaning of the XFree86 1.1 license (which appears to be
semantically identical to the X-Oz License) on the XFree86 Forum list[1] and
other lists in January and February.

I'm not subscribed to -forum, but I read a lot of its traffic back then
because, as a member of the X Strike Force package maintenance team for
Debian, I needed to know what the heck was going on with the upstream
licensing of XFree86.

> > I don't see why you consider this determination to be an "egregious
> > mistake".  I don't know what business we have declaring licenses whose
> > terms we don't understand as DFSG-free.
> Clause 4 -- which you declared non-free in that thread *before* public
> conversations with X-Oz, and Brian declared non-free at the start of
> this thread -- is identical to that used in the existing X license.

There is a world beyond Debian, you know.  :)

> I agree that non-standard interpretations of common clauses can result in
> a license being non-free (c.f. pine), but I don't find any evidence that
> that was the case when the X-Oz license summary was published.

Well, the problem was more a refusal on the part of the license author to
*state* an interpretation, rather than adopt a non-standard one.

> I suspect that summary is where Brian drew his conclusion that the
> license that started this thread was non-free.
> I stand by my statement that the X-Oz license summary as currently
> published is an "egregious mistake".

The XFree86 Forum list archives stand available to anyone who cares to slog
through the gigantic threads the announced the license change generated.

In my view, there are many more questions than answers to be found on that
list -- particularly when it comes to on-topic threads, sadly.

[1] http://www.xfree86.org/pipermail/forum/

G. Branden Robinson                |        Beware of and eschew pompous
Debian GNU/Linux                   |        prolixity.
branden@debian.org                 |        -- Charles A. Beardsley
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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