IBM Public License and Debian Linux..... Not compatible?

Carter Bullard carter at
Thu May 3 00:27:28 UTC 2001

Gentle People,
   I have released some software under a modified IBM Public
License.  The powers that be at Debian Linux are stating
that the license, and thus the IBM Public License, does not
meet their definition of "free".  I've included the Debian
definition of "free" below.  My modifications to the IBM
Public License are so slight that you can assume that my
license is equivalent to the IBM License.

   Given the Debian Free Software Guidelines below,
shouldn't any Open Source Approved License pass the
Debian test?



The Debian Free Software Guidelines

  1. Free Redistribution

     The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from
     selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate
     software distribution containing programs from several different
     sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such

  2. Source Code

     The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in
     source code as well as compiled form.

  3. Derived Works

     The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
     them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
     original software.

  4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

     The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified
     form _only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with
     the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time.
     The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from
     modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a
     different name or version number from the original software. (This is a
     compromise. The Debian group encourages all authors to not restrict any
     files, source or binary, from being modified.)

  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

     The license must not discriminate against any person or group of

  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

     The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in
     a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the
     program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic

  7. Distribution of License

     The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the
     program is redistributed without the need for execution of an
     additional license by those parties.

  8. License Must Not Be Specific to Debian

     The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's
     being part of a Debian system. If the program is extracted from Debian
     and used or distributed without Debian but otherwise within the terms
     of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is
     redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in
     conjunction with the Debian system.

  9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software

     The license must not place restrictions on other software that is
     distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license
     must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium
     must be free software.

 10. Example Licenses

     The "GPL", "BSD", and "Artistic" licenses are examples of licenses that
     we consider "free".

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