Subject: RE: ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES
To: 'tech-pkg@NetBSD.ORG' <tech-pkg@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Alistair Crooks <Alistair_Crooks@CommerzbankZGE.com>
Date: 06/10/1999 06:51:42
You have missed the point.
Acceptable licences does not govern whether or not the distfile can be put
on a CDROM or stored on a mirror or other server.
Acceptable licences is a way for a user on a NetBSD machine to specify that
they do not want commercial, shareware or other "non-open-source" types of
software installed on their machine. This means that, if I want to be abide
by the licence terms which people put on their software, but am unwilling to
pay for it, for example, then any bulk build in pkgsrc will miss that
software because I'm not prepared to cough up the dough for it. You may
think said licences are untenable, or are malodourous pieces of junk, or
only applicable to people in the 48 states - I don't care. We needed a way
to provide users, on a site-basis, with a way of avoiding shareware, if
necessary, and I'm quite pleased with the way it works.
The FreeBSD variables you mention are, indeed, used for the purposes of
placing distfiles. In the pkgsrc bsd.pkg.mk, you will find the NO_CDROM
check in the IGNORE section. You will also find the following uses of it in
crooksa@sys2:/u/crooksa/NetBSD/sync-pkgsrc/pkgsrc> grep CDROM */*/Makefile
audio/timidity/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "Uses copyrighted patches"
comms/binkd/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "extremely limited usefulness to the
comms/fidogate/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "extremely limited usefulness to the
comms/ifcico-cm/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "extremely limited usefulness to the
databases/mysql-client/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "Restrictive license."
games/xmahjongg/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "Restrictive copyright"
math/scilab/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "no paid distribution of SCILAB"
net/socks4/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "NEC has a funky license for this software"
net/socks5/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "NEC has a funky license for this software"
textproc/glimpse/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "Restrictive copyright (don't sell
textproc/rman/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "License required"
x11/tkman/Makefile:NO_CDROM= "Don't sell for profit"
Horses for courses, and all that.
As far as I'm aware FreeBSD have not used the acceptable licences stuff.
That's their problem, not ours.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Mittwoch, 9. Juni 1999 19:32
Subject: Re: ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES
[ On Wednesday, June 9, 1999 at 12:41:49 (-0400), David Rankin wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES
> On Wed, Jun 09, 1999 at 11:56:17AM +0200, Adam Ciarcinski wrote:
> > Please check, some packages need 'no-commercial-use' set in
> > ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES in /etc/mk.conf, and some (or only audio/festvox)
> > need 'non-commercial-use'. Which one is right?
> Since more packages use no-commercial-use, I would expect that this
> is the better of the two.
In terms of pkgsrc, and in relation to at least "western" Copyright law,
"no-commercial-use" is an effectively meaningless and misleading
designation. In fact the entire concept of ACCEPTABLE_LICNESES is bogus
because it confuses too many issues and is used for the wrong purposes.
What's important, in terms of pkgsrc, is whether or not the distfile can
be included on a CD-ROM along with other freeware, and whether or not
the distfile can be put on a third-party public FTP server -- i.e.
whether or not the original distfile can be re-distributed. (Strictly
speaking anything that's anonymously available should be redistributable
despite what the wording of a copyright notice might imply, but that's a
whole other discussion and not appropriate for this venue! ;-)
What's important in terms of a pkgsrc user is whether or not the
software is freely available (i.e. can be anonymously FTP'ed, etc.), and
whether or not the software might be protected by some non-copyright
related, locale-specific, encumberences such as USA patent restrictions.
The copyright issues and the notice of other encumberances need to be
separated to avoid confusion and to make sure that copyright is
respected while at the same time allowing the user to see which
non-copyright encumberences might apply to them.
The FreeBSD "bsd.ports.mk" file now defines the following much more
# RESTRICTED - Port is restricted (e.g., contains cryptography, etc.).
# NO_CDROM - Port may not go on CDROM.
# NO_PACKAGE - Port should not be packaged but distfiles can be put on
# ftp sites and CDROMs.
NO_CDROM means that the distfile cannot go on a CD-ROM distribution, and
by implication that it cannot go on the FTP server. It also implies
that a binary package cannot be distributed either. In theory this
should be augmented with an optional NO_FTP designation too.
NO_PACKAGE of course has to do with creating and thus distributing the
binary package, and the FreeBSD mk file allows it to be overridden by
the user with FORCE_PACKAGE (i.e. overridden for "internal" use) -- it's
there to prevent creation and distribution of a binary package during
The "RESTRICTED" classification is used in a somewhat US-centric
fashion, but I think that it could be expanded upon without too much
difficulty. (RESTRICTED currently has the same implications for
redistribution as NO_CDROM, and effectively implies that neither the
distfile, nor a binary package, may be exported from the USA. Something
needs to be added to indicate the locale where the restriction has
effect. It might also be handy to indicate which distfiles cannot be
imported into specified locales.)
I would *REALLY* like to see NetBSD's pkgsrc system be at minimum
converted to follow in FreeBSD's footsteps on this matter, and at best
also incorporate better support for givnig locale-specific restrictions.
Greg A. Woods
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