Legal soundness comes to open source distribution

Mahesh T Pai paivakil at
Fri Aug 2 17:12:38 UTC 2002

Pretty large amount of s/w is distributed in CDs, especially the open 
source variety.  ( redistribution under the same license terms is one of 
the rights under the OSD ).  In such case, the user would have acquired 
the media, (eg:- the CD coming with a magazine) and may or may not be 
aware of the contents. The contents of the same CD can often be 
distributed under different licenses.  Here, the issue of becoming aware 
of the license terms can arise when the user wants to install the 
software.  In such a situation, only "use wrap" will work. 

Therefore, I do not think that we have any option, except to recognize 
and accept "use-wrap".  

Mahesh T Pai.

David Johnson wrote:

>first is where the license is presented during installation or first usage. 
>The second is where the license is presented before one can acquire the 
>software. I'll refer to the first as "use-wrap" and the second as 
>"download-wrap" to avoid confusion.
>I have few problems with "download-wrap" if the only way to aquire the 
>software is to click "I agree". The user has no rights with regards to 
>software which they do not possess.
>The problem is with "use-wrap". By the time the user sees the license terms, 
>they have already aquired the right to install and use the software, 
>particularly so if they have aquired the software through a commercial 
>transaction. If the license merely grants additional rights to the user, then 
>use-wrap is no great problem. But if it lessens any rights already possessed 
>by the user, then use-wrap is a serious wrong.
>I would have no problems with an Open Source license that mandates the use of 
>"download-wrap". But the mandate of "use-wrap" should never be part of an 
>Open Source license. Just because the heathens do it doesn't mean we should 
>as well.

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