The big license mess, part 2

So seems like part 1 was not enough, even after drizzt’s good news. I’m now trying to get a hold of trustees to let them contact our pro-bono lawyers so that we can clear this up before continuing Gentoo/FreeBSD project.

What the problem is, if UCB (University of California/Berkley) allowed distributors to drop the third clause, de facto converting the BSD-4 licensed code to BSD-3? Well, UCB is not the only copyright holder of some BSD-4 licensed software, as it comes out, so we’re not safe to just drop all of the BSD-4 clauses from the source code, which means I still have to clear up if as a mere aggregation we classify as not needing to abide to the clause or otherwise.

A fuzzy grep over (part) of the source code for FreeBSD 6.2_rc2, provided that we’d have to clear the 3rd clause with quite a few people:

flame@enterprise ~/devel/hacking/gentoo-freebsd/fbsd-6.2rc2 % 
  fgrep "This product includes software developed by " . -r 2>/dev/null | 
  fgrep -v "by the University of" | 
  sed -e 's%.*This product includes software developed by %%' -e 's:.? *$::' | 
  sort | uniq -c | sort -b -n -r
    280 the NetBSD
    207 John Birrell
    206 Bill Paul
     81 Boris Popov
     55 Christopher G. Demetriou
     52 TooLs GmbH
     51 Jochen Pohl for
     45 Winning Strategies, Inc
     35 Daniel Eischen
     25 Mark Brinicombe
     22 Brini
     19 Hidetoshi Shimokawa
     17 the
     16 Christos Zoulas
     15 Scott Bartram
     14 K. Kobayashi and H. Shimokawa
     13 Sean Eric Fagan
     13 Joerg Wunsch
     11 Paul Kranenburg
     11 Marc Espie for the OpenBSD
     11 Manuel Bouyer
     11 Jason L. Wright
     11 Charles D. Cranor and
     10 Amancio Hasty and
      9 Marc Horowitz
      8 Martin Husemann
      8 Causality Limited
      7 Terrence R. Lambert
      7 Rajesh Vaidheeswarran
      7 Jason R. Thorpe
      7 Hellmuth Michaelis,
      7 HD Associates, Inc
      7 Gardner Buchanan
      6 Herb Peyerl
      6 Eric Young (eay@mincom.oz.au)
      6 Daniel M. Eischen
      6 Adam Glass
      5 the SMCC Technology
      5 Nan Yang Computer
      5 John Hay
      5 Intel Corporation and
      5 Craig Rodrigues
      5 Comtrol Corporation
      4 Softweyr LLC, the
      4 Niels Provos
      4 Matriplex, inc
      4 Kouichi Matsuda for
      4 David Greenman
      4 Chris Provenzano
      3 Theo de Raadt
      3 the Network Research
      3 the Computer Systems
      3 SigmaSoft, Th. Lockert
      3 Peter Galbavy
      3 Mark Tinguely and Jim Lowe
      3 Henrik Vestergaard Draboel
      3 HD Associates
      3 HAYAKAWA Koichi
      3 Harvard University
      3 Andy Rutter of
      2 Todd C. Miller
      2 the RiscBSD team
      2 Sujal M. Patel
      2 Steven Wallace
      2 Specialix International
      2 Sergey Osokin
      2 Roger Hardiman
      2 Rodney W. Grimes
      2 Phase One, Inc
      2 (name)
      2 Mike Pritchard and
      2 Mike Pritchard
      2 Jonathan Stone
      2 Jeffrey Hsu
      2 Hellmuth Michaelis
      2 Geoffrey M. Rehmet
      2 David Miller
      2 Charles M. Hannum
      2 Charles Hannum
      2 Aaron Brown and
      1 [your name]
      1 WIDE Project and
      1 the PocketBSD project
      1 the FreeBSD Project
      1 Shingo WATANABE
      1 Scott Stevens
      1 
      1 Powerdog Industries
      1 Paul Richards
      1 Michael Smith
      1 Michael Shalayeff
      1 Michael Graff
      1 Mats O Jansson
      1 Masaru OKI
      1 Luke Mewburn
      1 Luigi Rizzo
      1 K. Kobayashi and H. SHimokawa
      1 K. Kobayashi
      1 Joachim Kuebart
      1 Jim Binkley
      1 Jason Thorpe
      1 Jason L. Wright,
      1 Jarle Greipsland
      1 Jack F. Vogel
      1 Ivan Sharov
      1 H. Shimokawa
      1 Gordon W. Ross
      1 David Hulton
      1 Bruce M. Simpson
      1 Angelos D. Keromytis
      1 Adam Glass and Charles
      1 Aaron Campbell
flame@enterprise ~/devel/hacking/gentoo-freebsd/fbsd-6.2rc2 % 
  fgrep "This product includes software developed by " . -r 2>/dev/null | 
  fgrep -v "by the University of" | 
  sed -e 's%.*This product includes software developed by %%' -e 's:.? *$::' | 
  sort | uniq -c | sort -b -n -r | wc -l
112

and this is hardly a perfect list; for instance it does not cover those files where the code is not copyrighted UCB but let it figure as the developer of the code included, or where the developer is another university. And you get some fuzzy entries like “the”, although NetBSD project is the first offended by measure.

So, what are we going to do? Will we be able to bring Gentoo/FreeBSD back? Beside, if mere aggregation is enough, we might be on the same boat as FreeSBIE, it might become a mess so big that would bring with us a few other project too.

4 thoughts on “The big license mess, part 2

  1. You might want to try contacting the FSF for a quicker response.. I’m guessing that they will tell you they can not advise you because they don’t want to be liable, but on the very off chance that they do have an answer up their sleeve it will be quicker than having the pro bono team research this issue to come up to speed with the differing licenses.-C

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  2. How about re-releasing the GPL’d code under a less restrictive license? The LGPL will probably do.

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  3. OK, so I own four of those. I’ll go file them off right now so they don’t cause you any heartburn. I hearby allow the developers of Gentoo and anyone else on the planet to distribute any Softweyr LLC products with no advertising requirements whatsoever.Now everybody get back to work. This is a 7-year-old nonissue and it is pretty silly that it’s coming up again, when the world needs better software, not more licensing arguments.

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  4. Sorry, but I cannot parse this sentence:”Beside, if mere aggregation is enough, we might be on the same boat as FreeSBIE, it might become a mess so big that would bring with us a few other project too.”Could anybody explain that?Thanks in advance, Daniel

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