[License-review] Request for Legacy Approval of PHP License 3.01

Ben Ramsey ben at benramsey.com
Thu Mar 5 21:25:01 UTC 2020

> Perhaps a more salient example, which came to mind upon reflection on the early part of my career, was “PCI Hot Plug,” circa 1997

> There's at least one IT use of that acronym dated from at least the late Aughts: http://packet-lab.com/main/service-provider/ccip/item/89-mpls-penultimate-hop-popping.html

These are non-issues, IMO, since PCI Hot Plug and Penultimate Hop Popping aren't derivatives of PHP software.

> Or, suppose the Ceph project creates some sort of Kubernetes-related project called "cephpod" and suppose for some bizarre reason it uses a copyrightable snippet of PHP-licensed code.

This is definintely an interesting scenario. Hypothetically, this might be handled by requesting something to distinguish the name as not being “PHP." Perhaps "CephPod?"

> Does this mean that any author of a PHP extension using the PHP license -- or indeed some software completely unrelated to PHP using the PHP license -- can treat a trademark use of PHP as a breach of the license, and is that appropriate, compared to the situation that I think was contemplated by such licenses where the licensor is also presumably the trademark owner?

These issues have been discussed at length within the Debian community (see https://lwn.net/Articles/604630/), with the consensus seeming to be that the PHP license can be applied only to PHP itself since it can't effectively be applied to any software that does not come from the PHP Group. For extensions and other software that attempt to apply the PHP License 3.01 to their works, the Debian community appears to assume they don't know what they're doing and that the intent is for licensing terms similar to (or the same as) the 3-clause BSD license.

Their discussion appeared to settle on the sentiment that PHP is able to do this because of its popularity and, "For stuff not already in Debian, sure, let's stick to a simple policy because we can usually get people to change upstream and make the world a better place, and we don't lose much if we fail. But that doesn't really apply to PHP."

For this reason, the PHP License should still be considered a *non-reusable license*, to discourage other projects from adopting it, since it contains clauses that cannot be enforced and are even false when applied to other projects.

Within the extension repository and PHP project itself, it may be helpful for us (the PHP project) to actively discourage use of this license for anything that will not be owned by the PHP Group.

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