Subject: Re: SSH 2.0 license; looks like 2.0 won't allow non-education use
To: None <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Greg A. Woods <email@example.com>
Date: 10/12/1998 21:30:11
[ On Mon, October 12, 1998 at 11:08:22 (-0500), Rob Healey wrote: ]
> Subject: SSH 2.0 license; looks like 2.0 won't allow non-education use
> Has anybody taken a close look at the SSH 2.0 license? In a nutshell
> it appears that unless you are a student at a University the public
> source use is prohibited; i.e. you have to get the commercial version.
Yeah. Classic attempt at creating a shrink-wrap license based on
copyright law. In the USA (at least for the time being), and in Canada,
this form of software license will not likely be defendable. Either
it's as good as freeware (my opinion), or it's totally "All Rights
Reserved", in which case you'd really have to make a strong argument for
being able to obtain a legitimate copy even from their own site.
> Particularly interesting is that you can't connect up to a commercial
> entity with the public version unless you are a student downloading
> work; i.e. an ISP is a commercial entity as is any other entity
> that pays salerys, i.e. a non-profit organization would fall under
> the paying salery dept.
See above. Basically the copyright law cannot dictate how a legitimate
copy of a program is executed or run by its owner (i.e. you, after
you've downloaded it), or indeed what type of data it is used to
transport or whether or not its execution provides a commercial service.
> This seems kinda stinky since they expect the freeware world to fix
> and debug their commercial product while forcing the same people
> who would be providing fixes to buy the commercial version! It's
> not clear if the commercial version is source or binary either.
It's totally stinky. Unfortunately it seems there's a strong lobby
force trying to make shrink-wrap licenses totally legal in the USA.
(See the "Legally Speaking" column by Pamela Sameulson in the September
1998 issue of "Communications of the ACM", vol. 14, no. 9, p. 15, for an
excellent discussion of the implications of such a law.)
> Anyways, has anyone else looked in to this yet? Should care be taken
> to avoid the 2.0 version in the distribution and/or pkg (patch issue)
> so sticky legal dragons don't rear their heads?
There should be no problems with including an ssh-2.x "package" in the
pkgsrc distribution so long as the LICENSE macro is set to
"no-commercial-use" (in which of course the meaning of "use" is derrived
from copyright law).
Greg A. Woods
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