Re: License issues

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On Sat, Mar 06, 2004 at 08:18:43PM -0800, Paul Vojta wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 06, 2004 at 06:28:26PM -0600, Ryan Underwood wrote:
> > 
> > XFree86 has a choice; inconvenience distributors somewhat, or either
> > throw away or request relicensing for all code submitted under the
> > previous XFree86 licensing policy which took advantage of allowing the
> > author to demand credit for his work.
> > 
> > What would you have them do?
> I don't understand this.
> You seem to be saying that Joe Schmoe has contributed files to XFree86 and
> has an advertising clause in his copyright message.  Somehow, changing the
> license conditions on those files carrying XFree86's name (and therefore
> none of Mr. Schmoe's files), and requiring people to give credit to XFree86
> when using the server, will make Joe happier????

It is not a question of "making Joe happier".  It is a question of
being in compliance with software redistribution licenses.  This code
was already in XFree86.  It already required distributors to credit the
project contributors.  It was already being distributed in violation
of the licenses of the individual contributors by many distributions.
If Joe didn't want to require distributors to credit XFree86
contributors, then he would not have licensed his code to XFree86 in
such a manner.

The reason distributors were ignoring these "buried" licenses is mainly
because they don't have the resources to dig through all the files to
verify all of the licenses, so they were judging compliance based on the
biggest blobs - the parts under license of XFree86 project, which were
under a X11 license.  The parts with licenses demanding credit, if they
were even noticed, I suppose were assumed to have been relicensed at
some point in the past, so they were ignored.

If people want the XFree86 codebase to be under the X11 license again,
a prerequisite would be to contact all of the previous contributors and
have them relicense their code to remove the clause demanding credit, or
write a suitable replacement and release it under X11 license.
Only at that point would it make the remotest bit of sense to ask the
XFree86 project to change its license to something more permissive.

As it is now, the XFree86 license reflects the "worst-case" licenses
that were already being used by individual contributors, and to me it
does nothing but make clear what distributors must do in order to comply
with the license of the entire XFree86 distribution.  Distributors whining
about the license "change" conveniently ignore the fact that they were
already distributing code in violation of the contributors' licenses.
If you don't believe me,
grep -ir "acknowledg[e]*ment" xc
, and see for yourself.

Ryan Underwood, <nemesis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

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