Subject: Re: copyright questions
To: Thomas Graichen <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/12/1997 10:26:55
On Thu, 12 Jun 1997, Thomas Graichen wrote:

> i have a little question about the copyright's used in the NetBSD
> sources:
> at the NetBSD homepage i find the following under the "goals":
> ...
> In summary, the people involved in the NetBSD Project use a
> Berkeley-style license where possible because it closely matches our
> goal of allowing users to do whatever they'd like with our software,
> while making sure that we get credit for the work we have done.
> ...
> ok - now let's see how such an berkeley licence is looking like (this
> is the one from src/bin/ls/ls.c):


> looks fine so far ... now let's have a look at the copyright of
> another file in the source tree - src/sys/arch/alpha/alpha/locore.s
> (it's not the only file with this style of copyright):


> can you see a difference ? - i think this "a complete copy of the
> above copyright notice and all terms of this License as presented here
> must be included within each copy of all documentation accompanying or
> associated with binary code, in any medium, along with a list of the
> software modules to which the license applies." is a bit overkill and
> is - at least for me - a contradiction to the ideas written in the
> goals section of the NetBSD www pages - also i can't understand how
> this is going together with the dislike of many of the *BSD
> developers to the gnu gpl (general public licence) due to their
> relative "unfreeness" compared to the berkeley style licence ... i
> think the above copyright is at least also a step away from the
> "freeness" of the berkeley style licence ...

I'm not sure what I think about this being contrary to the NetBSD goals
and the BSD-spirit license, so I'll only answer about why I've gathered
that folks don't like the GPL. It's because the GPL puts restrictions on
the source code for everything with which it's linked at build time (rules
different for libraries, and dynamically linked things aren't covered).
EVERYTHING has to be GPL'd, or you can't use GPL'd source.

AFAI can tell, the snipped copyright says NOTHING about the other source
with which you might compile that source.

> just to give some examples of the implications of that kind of
> copyright if you take it for real - look at the following situtations:
> if you burn a cd and write a post-it note telling a friend how to
> start it.. you soon have to print a couple of sheets of paper with
> copyrights and software lists accompanying that note ... or even worse,
> if you speak to him over the phone - you have to read him this
> information: any medium includes phone ... or air borne speech too of
> course ... spoken howto-use info must be considered documentation too
> if it is extended to any medium ...

That would get a bit silly... :-)

> i would be interested to hear what other people think about this and
> what are the reasons for the ones using this kind of licence not to
> stay with the berkeley style licence - is the credit you get from it
> not enough ? ... is it really required to do such stuff ?

I'm not sure.

Take care,