Redistributions must retain this list of conditions

Paul Guyot pguyot at
Sun Nov 11 06:17:11 UTC 2001

Hi all,

There is something which seems weird to me this morning and you will 
probably tell me where my reasonning goes wrong.

You seem to consider on this list that one can re-license anything 
under BSD under the GPL -- well, a lot of people seems to consider 
this, including the FSF, but there are also a lot of people who find 
it normal to license under GPL software based on Metrowerks 
PowerPlant commercial closed source framework, for example.

Now, the FSF says (and I think I read it here as well) that the 
original BSD isn't compatible with the GPL because of the advertising 
clause. I understand the FSF's argument against this clause 
(, and I found it funny myself 
when I saw that many sentences in NetBSD documentation.
However, I can't see what makes it incompatible with the GPL. 
Actually, I think I see but I can't see how removing this clause 
makes it compatible with the GPL.

I consider that if you reproduce the conditions, it states how the 
code is licensed from the original developer. This is probably where 
I missed the legal point.
Either some text on a work saying:

>Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without 
>modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions 
>are met:

[bla bla bla]

is a license agreement, either it's not and it's just there for 
decorating purposes. I'm not a lawyer, but I would say it's a license 

Let's say that A writes some code and puts it under BSD. A puts the 
BSD license in the read me file or the LICENSE file next to his code 
and considers that his code is under BSD.

Let's say that A' writes some code under the GPL. A' follows the 
direction of the FSF - How to use the GPL.

Now, let's consider B and C. B is writing a program with bits of code 
written by A and bits of code written by A'.
B must follow A conditions to get a license on the code written by A. 
So B must put the BSD license somewhere.
B must follow A' conditions as well and license the sum A + A' + B 
word under the GPL.

What's the license agreement of C with B?
- the BSD license written somewhere inherited from the work of A?
In that case, it doesn't work because of the work of A'.
- the sum (GPL + BSD)?
Doesn't work neither because the GPL forbids it.
- the GPL? so the text B reproduced according to the BSD license is void??

Let's suppose that all this is wrong as it is probably (it's just 
0700 on a Sunday). What's the difference with adding the advertising 
clause in the BSD license?

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