Re: [XFree86] Announcement: Modification to the base XFree86(TM) license.
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On Mon, Feb 02, 2004 at 06:45:33PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote: >On Mon, Feb 02, 2004 at 12:14:27PM -0500, David Dawes wrote: >> On Mon, Feb 02, 2004 at 05:46:27PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote: >> >> >> I would like to understand what the GPL folks reasons are for being >> >> incompatible with a licence that quite reasonably requires credit be >> >> given to the authors. >> > >> >Well, they have some explanation about this, and it has to do with >> >size of such acknowledgement becoming immensely huge over time. How >> >would you feel if every past XFree86 Contributor now decided to want to >> >have their full name in the acknowledgement ? How would this be >> >practical for a in-software about popup ? And how much pages would it >> >add to end-user documentation ? >> >> I would have no problem with that. The XFree86 release notes now >> has a credits section with the names of everyone who contributed >> to a particular release. I would be very happy to extend that to >> all past releases. > >Well, notice the difference between a release note, which is just a >file on a CD or on the disk, and hardly ever get printed, to a end-user >documentation which is in printed form, or the limited space in the >about popup window. If other third-party acknowledgements are included in this limited printed end-user documentation, then why shouldn't ours? Condition 3. of the licence does not request special treatment, only treatment equivalent to other third-party acknowledgements. >> It did and does happen. Whether you were aware of it or not is >> another matter. The licence has been displayed in our copyright/license >> document, which is part of the XFree86 user documentation, for some >> time. It was not hidden, and as I said, even the FSF's licence >> web pages pointed to it. > >And, where files of the libraries affected by this licence ? This is the >problem at hand here. Whether or not this is the only apparent problem at hand depends on who you listen to. >> So your complaint is that it is a matter of degree? It's OK for >> this licence to apply to small amounts of code, but not large >> amounts? The modified license only applies to a relatively small >> percentage of the whole source tree as it is. Where do you draw >> the line? > >No, but it may well happen that licence conflicts may have been hidden >or missed true error. Once such problems are found and publicly exposed, >you cannot ignore them anymore. XFree86 has not hidden this fact. >> >But let's come back to the real problem at hand. >> > >> >Suppose i write a piece of software, let's say a graphical mail client >> >or something such. Is it your intentions or not that this graphical mail >> >client, by virtue of linking with the xlibs from the XFree86 Project, >> >needs to show an acknowledgement to the XFree86 Project in its about box >> >or end-user documentation ? >> >> Not by virtue of linking with the xlibs, of course not. If the >> xlibs were covered by the modified licence, whoever distributed >> those xlibs would need to make an appropriate acknowledgement. > >Ok, so since this is clarified, please tell that in the licence >explicitly. It may not solve the GPL problem, but it may be a good think >to claim that explicitly. Clarifications can be considered, or course, but neither the previous license or the BSD license (original or revised) make such explicit statements. >Next step then. It is the claim of the GPL folk that this licence is >incompatible with the GPL, and in particular, if this licence does apply >to the X libraries (i think 15 or so files are affected, libs, include >files, and some manpages). You may disagree with that, but i think you >don't disagree that this is effectively what the GPL people claim, even >if you say it is a problem in the GPL. I agree that there are people claiming that there is a problem here, and that they are effectively saying that "Open Source" is no longer good enough and everything must be a subset of the GPL. People claim lots of things. >Now, this does mean that, due to this licence change, an existing >application which was licenced under the GPL cannot anymore be linked >with the X library you distribute. Do you think this is a bad thing, and >would need to be solved, or do you think that it is the fault of the >GPL, and you don't really care ? I think that the whole notion of a license crossing API boundaries is absurd. If people really do want to place such restrictions on what is behind APIs that their software uses, then they should do so fully preprared to live with all of the consequences, not just the benefits. I understand that the GPL makes at least some exceptions in this area, I guess because some of the consequences were couldn't be lived with. Exceptions lead to anomolies. Either it should be pure with no exceptions, or it should abandon the absurd attempt to cross API boundaries altogether. >Again, if it was not a problem, it was by ignorance, but now that this >matter has come to light, it cannot be ignored anymore. Ask your legal >advicer about this issue if you don't believe me. Do you expect me to believe that Branden didn't go through every licence in the XFree86 source tree, or at a very minimum those in our LICENSE document? He has contacted me about some obscure ones in the past, but not about this type of licence, as far as I recall. David -- David Dawes developer/release engineer The XFree86 Project www.XFree86.org/~dawes _______________________________________________ Forum mailing list Forum@xxxxxxxxxxx http://XFree86.Org/mailman/listinfo/forum
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