NASM Licence

Nelson Rush chesterrr at
Wed Oct 18 15:44:02 UTC 2000

Julian Hall said that portions of code from NASM may be used in GPL'd code,
but that the portions included remain under the NASM license and not the
GPL. He pointed to Section VII for reference.

-----Original Message-----
From: Zak Greant [mailto:zak at]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:45 PM
To: david at
Cc: License-Discuss
Subject: Re: NASM Licence

David Johnson wrote:
> > On Tue, 17 Oct 2000, Zak Greant wrote:
> > Hi Frank,
> >
> > It does seem odd.  AFAIK open source programs usually have the same
> > license, regardless of distribution method/platform/etc...  Also, if
> > product is supposed to be distributed under the GPL, then why the
> > supplementary add-on licensing information?
> That "supplementary add-on licensing" IS the license for NASM.
> I'm guessing that Debian interpreted clause X as meaning that NASM could
> distributed under the GPL. This is currently under debate in several
> quarters. The clause *is* problematic, and I can see validity on both
> Considering that event the authors of NASM can't agree as to the meaning
> clause X, Debian should have kept it under its original license (as
> in clause VII).

Clause X is very ambiguous.  What exactly does:
"In addition to what this Licence otherwise provides, the Software
may be distributed in such a way as to be compliant with the GNU
General Public Licence..." mean?

It sounds like a Captain-Kirkesque logic trap used to defeat evil computer
entities.  Perhaps it is a logic bomb left for Richard Stallman: I can
picture it now "Mmmm... Clause X - GPL Compatible... no wait, clause IV -
proprietary licensing... no wait.. clause X..."
Repeat til beard explodes into flame.
(Note: I am not worthy to scrape the finger gunk off of RMS's hallowed
keyboard -- I just can't resist poking a wee bit of fun...)

Seriously -- the clause sounds like it is based on the best of intentions.
If the license is GPL-compatible (or the authors found it palatable to make
it compatible) then perhaps adding a simple statement indicating that the
license is GPL friendly would satisfy everyone?

Someone remarked that the consensus on the list was that the license was
not GPL compatible -- does anyone remember what items were considered


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