[License-discuss] plain text license versions?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Sep 6 22:34:29 UTC 2012

Quoting Luis Villa (luis at tieguy.org):

> As a practical matter, indicating, tracking and relying on waiver is a
> bit of a pain. e.g., lets say upstream says:
> "I give you a copy of the license this work is licensed under by
> pointing you at http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html"

The competent (and bog-standard) method of stating a waiver is inline in
licensor's copyright notice.

Copyright (C) 2012 George Tirebiter.  

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version, with the
additional permission that licensor waives any requirement to
include a copy of the license text.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

> Or to put it another way: OSI spent a lot of time and energy
> discouraging people from using custom licenses. Custom waivers
> (particularly for something trivial like this) are just another form
> of the same mess.

I cannot see that licensor voluntarily adding an extra right to the
bundle otherwise conveyed creates a problem.  However, whether OSI 
likes the practice or not, my point is that it occurs in the real world
and solves practical problems.

I don't have time to check implementation, but recall that this issue
arose when my frined Marc Merlin created a custom package of the Exim
MTA at VA Linux Systems that added OpenSSL integration for TLS/SMTPS and
offered it for public download.  I said to Marc 'Sorry to be the bearer
of bad news, but your derivative of Phil Hazel's Exim code violates his
copyright because OpenSSL includes GPL-incompatible code modules written
by Eric A. Young back when it was called SSLeay.'  

Marc cursed me out (as if _I_ had caused the problem), and then did the
obvious and asked Phil Hazel to add a licence exception permitting use
with OpenSSL, which he reportedly did.

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