[clc-devel] Software licenses

Johannes Winkelmann jw at tks6.net
Tue Sep 21 13:24:03 UTC 2004

Jukka Heino wrote:
> Hi,
> Now that Simone Rota has committed his datastudio port into contrib, I 
> began to wonder if CLC has some sort of policy on what software licenses 
> should be allowed in contrib. At least one user was concerned that he 
> might accidentally install software which would require a commercial 
> license for the purpose he's using it for. I, for one, would find 
> something like a "License" field in Pkgfiles useful so that with a quick 
> glance one could see under which terms the software is released (GPL, 
> BSD...). What do others think?
I'm a bit torn since on one hand, I think users should just be able to 
install the software from our ports tree without caring about legal 
issues; on the other hand, this would basically mean that we wouldn't 
allow any commercial packages in the ports tree.

Regarding DataStudio, if you start it you have to explicitely select 
whether you want to use it for personal use only:
This is very similar to what we do in Qt, where we assume that users 
want the GPL'ed version (where commercial licenses could be selected as 
well), and I don't think this is a problem as you can legally have a 
copy on your harddisk which is not used (as a personal edition), and you 
have to idendify the mode of usage before actually being able to use it.

Beyond that, I'd rather not provide ports which require a commercial 
license for non-personal use if there's no such dialog at startup, than 
introducing a 'license' field in Pkgfiles. In such cases, I'd rather 
omit the download and have people fetch the input files themselves, 
since I think it would be too easy to just overlook the license field.

Whether the license header adds enough value independently from the 
commercial license discussion... I'm not so sure. IMO for that to be 
nice, we should give the user access to the license itself, which would 
imply that the user has it installed (optionally, of course). I don't 
think something like "apache license, version 2" is enough to write in a 
package, since people will still have to look it up (just like looking 
up the license in the first place). We could compile a set of licenses, 
identify them using keys (e.g. GPL, LGPL, APL2.0 etc.) and put them into 
/usr/share/licenses/$KEY; but then, I'm not sure if this is worth the 
effort, though.

Kind regards, Johannes
"no sig today" -- jw

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