Subject: Re: [Frank da Cruz : Re: Kermit and NetBSD]
To: Frank da Cruz <>
From: Bill Sommerfeld <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 11/23/1999 10:18:24
This is just my opinion.  I don't speak for NetBSD, I'm just offering
my opinion.

There are many different definitions of "open source" (and, alas, many
of them fall down to "I know it when I see it").  One common thread is
that mere availability of source code is a necessary, but not
sufficient, component; an equally important one is that someone
receiving an open source distribution should be able to turn around
and make one, or ten, or a million copies of the distribution, and
give them away, sell them at cost, or try to sell them at a profit.

I believe the problematic text in the distribution is the following:

  Copyright (C) 1985, 1996, Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New
  York.  The C-Kermit software may not be, in whole or in part, licensed or
  sold for profit as a software product itself, nor may it be included in or
  distributed with commercial products or otherwise distributed by commercial
  concerns to their clients or customers without written permission of the
  Office of Kermit Development and Distribution, Columbia University.  

One of the goals shared by many contributors to the Project is to
provide software which can be used as a foundation for commercial
products.  Requiring specific arrangements with Columbia for each
different distribution of the code is antithetical to this goal.

I'll note, in passing. that (for instance) we aren't the only ones
with this sort of viewpoint.

See the "Open Source Definition" on,
and the "Debian Free Software Guidelines, in .

i think that, at least by these definitions of "open source", kermit
isn't open source.

					- Bill