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License is DFSG-incompatible

License is DFSG-incompatible

Posted Nov 9, 2006 10:43 UTC (Thu) by bgoglin (subscriber, #7800)
Parent article: Sparse gets a maintainer

The license (OSL v1.1) seems to be considered non-free in Debian because of patent/reciprocity issues. So it cannot be included in Debian. Kind of sad...

http://wiki.debian.org/DFSGLicenses#head-2b7e4b3507dcc565...


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License is DFSG-incompatible

Posted Nov 9, 2006 18:12 UTC (Thu) by branden (guest, #7029) [Link]

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[1], 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.

[1] 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.)

License is DFSG-incompatible

Posted Nov 9, 2006 21:25 UTC (Thu) by vonbrand (guest, #4458) [Link]

Why are you assuming that Linus choose this license specifically because of this clause?

License is DFSG-incompatible

Posted Nov 17, 2006 0:39 UTC (Fri) by arcticwolf (guest, #8341) [Link]

Why are you assuming that Linus didn't read/understand the license or didn't care about this clause?

I think the question is a valid one: if Linus read the license carefully (and seriously, does anyone think he didn't?), why was he OK with this if he's not OK with similar provisions concerning DRM instead of patents in the GPLv3 drafts, for example?

I'm actually pretty sure he's got a good answer (he *is* Linus, after all, and experience shows that he pretty much always has a good reason for what he does), but I'm rather curious what it could be.

License is DFSG-incompatible

Posted Nov 12, 2006 15:33 UTC (Sun) by lool (subscriber, #36299) [Link]

(But it was uploaded to Debian's non-free component, and accepted today.)


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