[jdev] Jabberd 1.4.x license concerns/questions

Jamin W.Collins jcollins at asgardsrealm.net
Thu Mar 31 20:14:34 CST 2005

A concern has recently been raised[1] on the debian-legal mailing list 
about the Jabber Open Source License (JOSL) and whether Debian is in 
violation of it due to it's distribution mechanisms.  I believe the 
section in question is:

>    2. Availability of Source Code. You must make available, under the 
> terms
> of this License, the Source Code of the Licensed Product and any
> Modifications that you distribute, either on the same media as you
> distribute any executable or other form of the Licensed Product, or 
> via a
> mechanism generally accepted in the software development community for 
> the
> electronic transfer of data (an "Electronic Distribution Mechanism"). 
> The
> Source Code for any version of Licensed Product or Modifications that 
> you
> distribute must remain available for at least twelve (12) months after 
> the
> date it initially became available, or at least six (6) months after a
> subsequent version of said Licensed Product or Modifications has been 
> made
> available. You are responsible for ensuring that the Source Code 
> version
> remains available even if the Electronic Distribution Mechanism is
> maintained by a third party.

The problem as I understand it is the bit about keeping the source for 
each distributed version available.  With Debian's Testing and Unstable 
distributions it is not possible to guarantee this.

Looking at Jabber.Org's server listing[2], it indicates that the 
Jabberd source is licensed under the GPL.  However review of the 1.4.3 
(last stable release) files shows that the primary license is the JOSL 
with an option to relicense under the GPL only if the existing JOSL 
notice is removed and replaced with a GPL notice.  This effectively 
means that almost every file within the upstream release must be 
modified.  Is there a way that it could be licensed that provides the 
same flexibility without requiring modification of each file?  Perhaps 
an active dual license?

Additionally, it appears that the 1.4.3 release tarball lacks a copy of 
either license (GPL or JOSL) or a central license declaration.  Could a 
central license declaration and copies of the licenses be added to the 
upcoming 1.4.4 release?  I believe such a notice would help clarify the 
intended licensing.

[1] - http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/03/msg00581.html
[2] - http://www.jabber.org/software/servers.shtml

Jamin W. Collins

More information about the JDev mailing list