[jdev] Jabberd 1.4.x license concerns/questions

Tijl Houtbeckers thoutbeckers at splendo.com
Fri Apr 1 19:08:13 CST 2005

On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 02:12:31 +0200, Ralph Giles <giles at xiph.org> wrote:

> On Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 01:59:18AM +0200, Tijl Houtbeckers wrote:
>> - the requirments are NOT for any GPL licened code. (and it's not, it's
>> just for the orginal BSD licensed code, not for the changes made to it..
>> you can distrubite those changes WITHOUT showing the BSD license)
>> [...]
>> the OpenSSL license is clearly different, it tries to impose licensing
>> terms on use of it's code, that are not allowed in the GPL. It sets  
>> terms
>> not just for it's own code, but for other (in this case, GPL licensed)
>> code that uses it. Which the GPL does not allow.
> Ok, you seem to be arguing that the distinction is that clause 3 of the
> openssl license (the "advertising clause") applies to the GPL code as
> well, and is therefore in conflict with the GPL, while clause 2 (the
> standard BSD license reproduction clause for binaries) applies only to
> the BSD portion of the code and so in *not* in conflict.
> Is that correct? And if so, I still don't understand what language
> distinguishes the two cases. Is it the reference to 'features' in the
> advertising clause?

I'll give it one more post.. the last one was a bit too fuzzy perhaps.

The BSD license is not part of the source of binary in the sense that the  
GPL requires you can alter it. They only require that you reproduce the  
license during the distribution (wether it's in the documentation, wether  
you record in on an audiotape, whatever). The GPL does not forbid that. It  
simply mandates that any code you link with GPL code (with some of the  
noted expections!) can be distributed under the same terms as the GPL.  
With BSD code you can do that. The fact that the license text must  
accompany it when you distribute it does not pose any restriction not  
allowed by the GPL on either the GPLed code or the BSDed code. You can  
still make changes, deratives etc. of both where both will be licensable  
under the GPL.

The BSD license that accompanies it can under no circumstance* can say:  
"it was fine before. But this and that change you made now to the source  
or the binary or in your distrubition method, which would be legal if it  
was all GPL code, is not in legal in our license, so you now are no longer  
licensed for it". The only thing you can do is not provide the BSD  
license... but nowhere does the GPL say that to use code with the GPL you  
must be allowed to remove the license of that code with the distrubtion!  
It just puts conditions on what you can do with the source, the deritives  
(including binaries), the distribution etc. etc. The GPL doesn't (pretend  
to) give you super licensing removal powers. You should not see a license  
as part of the product/source/binary/derative itself.. it is the license  
for it!

With OpenSSL you can not do this. Displaying a message in the program  
"uses OpenSLL" or something like it is required. I could build a GPL  
program that shows in the "about" that it used OpenSSL, and then  
distrubute it with OpenSSL. Then hacker-X decides to clean up the  
interface of my program and thinks it's not a clean GUI and really he has  
no need for that about-box. If (s)he'd remove it (perfectly legal if it  
was an all-GPL project) (s)he'd suddenly break the OpenSSL license. To  
prevent this situation, the GPL disallows linking with OpenSSL licensed  
code in the first place. Advertisiment is the same story, except that's  
part of distribution. A bit more vaguely defined, but I think it'd hold up  
in court.

Let's say nVidea makes a new license, kind of like the BSD license. Except  
they also require that the code should not be run on systems with an Ati  
videocard or motherboard. Not quite "free" code is it? Do you think you  
should be allowed to link and distribute this with GPL code? On the other  
hand, if they drop that and just want to call their license the  
nVideaRulesAt!sucks license.. who's stopping me from using that code from  
rendering whatever I want on an Ati system?

* with the exception of the even more vague area of trademarks on names,  
etc. I mentioned before. Don't ask me about that ;)

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