Subject: Re: copyright questions
To: Ted Lemon <>
From: Curt Sampson <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/15/1997 01:42:39
On Fri, 13 Jun 1997, Ted Lemon wrote:

> In this entire orgasm of flamage, NOT ONE PERSON has said ``this
> change will effect me personally in the following, specific, negative
> way.''   NOBODY.   NOT ONE PERSON.   Why is that, do you think?

Ok. It affects me directly and personally. On my price sheet, I
have an item for installing a UUCP system on customer hardware for
use at the customer site. At this point I may well be in violation
of Chris's licence terms. I can't tell you for sure, because I have
not spent, and will not spend, the hours necessary to find out.
(I'd have to go through all the source files, find out which ones
have Chris's new licence on them, and the figure out if any of them
are used on the systems I'm installing.)

I don't really care, for obvious and possibly some non-obvious
reasons, to put `includes software developed for NetBSD by Chris
G. Demetriou) on this item on all the various price lists I publish.
Nor do I really care to go through the hassle of working out exactly
what needs to be in a waiver I get from Chris so that I can continue
to use and sell NetBSD in the day-to-day operations of my company.
It will cost me time, generate no revenue or other real benefit,
and possibly cost me money if I have to get my lawer involved. 

The question at this point becomes `is it cheaper just to put
FreeBSD on those machines, or to put NetBSD on and deal with the
licencing hassles.'

If you want to know the truth, I'm simply going to violate Chris'
licence. I feel this is a reasonable risk to take because a) I'm
in Canada, and it would be a true PITA for Chris to sue me here,
and b) I know Chris personally and feel confident that not having
his name in an obscure corner of my price list is not going to be
a big deal to him anyway. If I were not so closely involved with
NetBSD, only point a) would apply. If I also were in the US I would
be seriously considering putting FreeBSD on those systems intead.

Keep in mind I have a much stronger attachment to NetBSD, too,
because I'm a NetBSD developer. Switching to FreeBSD would not be
nearly so big a deal for me if I were just an ordinary sysadmin.

On Sat, 14 Jun 1997 Jason Thorpe wrote:

> This license does NOT affect users of NetBSD.  It does affect people
> who _distribute_ NetBSD, but no more than a standard Berkeley-style
> license does.  In fact, I'd assert that people distributing NetBSD
> have _less_ worry and burden with this license, because the language
> is much clearer and more explicit!

No, it gives us more to worry about. The standard Berkeley licence
is vague enough that people are willing to risk violating it when
it seems unreasonable in that the demands it makes cost a lot to
implement. In other words, the potentially expensive clauses of
the licence were not very `chilling' from a business point of view.
The new licence has much more `chill': a small business that does
not have the resources to comply exactly with the all the licences
is more easily sued over that now.

It's my opinion that we should be working to make NetBSD easier to
distribute, rather than harder. (And I am aware that there are
people working on this right now, and I'm very happy they're doing
so.) I'm aware of the reasons for Chris' move, but it has been my
opinion all along that the collateral damage being suffered by
those who are helping the NetBSD project outweighs the damage
suffered by the NetBSD project due to those this licence is aimed

One more point I'd like to make: it seems to me that there are a
couple of potential changes to the licence that could make it much
easier on the `good guys'. 

1. Change the Acknowledgement to read `This product includes software
developed for the NetBSD Project.'

2. Require this in the various materials only if it is not NetBSD
itself being advertised.

Point 2, in particular, would solve the `OpenBSD does not give
credit' problem without being nearly so hard on NetBSD supporters.


Curt Sampson		Info at
Internet Portal Services, Inc.		`And malt does more than Milton can
Vancouver, BC   (604) 257-9400		 To justify God's ways to man.'