License is DFSG-incompatible
Posted Nov 9, 2006 18:12 UTC (Thu) by branden
In reply to: License is DFSG-incompatible
Parent article: Sparse gets a maintainer
I agree that it's kind of sad, but it's also kind of intriguing.
Debian's problem is with the following clause, which is short enough to quote:
10) Mutual Termination for Patent Action. This License shall terminate
automatically and You may no longer exercise any of the rights granted
to You by this License if You file a lawsuit in any court alleging
that any OSI Certified open source software that is licensed under any
license containing this "Mutual Termination for Patent Action" clause
infringes any patent claims that are essential to use that software.
So, basically, anybody who asserts a patent claim in *any* court against *any* code under the OSL, loses their copyright license to modify/distribute sparse.
This is an interesting choice of license given the reception that most Linux kernel developers have given the GPLv3.
RMS and Linux kernel hackers agree that DRM is bad.
RMS and Linux kernel hackers agree that software patents are bad.
According to Linux kernel hackers, a software license is an inappropriate forum in which to fight the badness of DRM. Hence his choice of the OSL for sparse.
However, according to Linus at least, a software license is not an inappropriate forum in which to fight the badness of software patents.
I'd be fascinated to hear why this is in no way inconsistent. My guess would have to be that Linus (and perhaps other kernel hackers who signed on to the joint critique of GPLv3) feel that software patents restrict freedoms they care about, whereas DRM restricts freedoms they don't care about.
 It's actually broader than that. It's "any OSI Certified open source software that is licensed under any license containing this ... clause
." (Emphasis added.)
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