To: None <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 07/24/2000 13:38:46
[ On Monday, July 24, 2000 at 23:44:06 (+0900), Jun-ichiro itojun Hagino wrote: ]
> 	are there any exact definition for ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES keywords, like:
> 		no-profit
> 		no-commercial-use
> 	pkgsrc/mk/mk.conf.example only lists the keywords, not the meaning.
> 	the question arose between us when we are looking into
> 	pkgsrc/mail/sendmail*.  sendmail* comes with "no-profit" keyword,
> 	however,
> 	- the term looks less restrictive than the GPL (we have two options,
> 	  one is no-profit, the other is like GPL)
> 	- GPL items are not marked
> 	so we think we may need more exact definition for these keywords,
> 	and when to define these keywords.

IANAL, but:

Their meanings are irrelevant, and indeed now that NO_CDROM et al exist,
their existance, at least in their current form, is meaningless.

This is all about copyright, and under copyright law, at least in most
sane places in the world (including even, I believe the, USA), something
is either redistributable (perhaps under some restrictions), or it is
not.  Copyright law only protects the author/owner from things such as
loss when someone else profits from redistribution, or from non-monetary
damages such as defamation when someone else falsely claims the work to
be their own.  If the author either allows others to freely redistribute
their work, or even if they make it freely and anonymously available
themselves without allowing redistribution, then a legal copy can be
obtained without any restrictions being placed on what you do with that
one copy.  If the source for a package is not freely redistributable
then you have to retrieve it directly from the author (or his/her
agent), and in doing so you may or may not have to enter into a contract
agreement that might restrict what you do with that one copy

I.e. copyright law on its own cannot affect what one uses a legally
obtained copy of some software for.  If you can freely obtain a copy of
the source (and I mean "freely" as in there are no contracts binding
your acquisition of the source, eg. you can FTP it anonymously from a
server where it is being legally redistributed from) then you can do
whatever the heck you want with that copy in terms of reading it,
compiling it, executing it, etc.  (I.e. some so-called copyright
licenses are likely un-enforcable.)

Indeed in Canada you are even allowed to make backups copies of a piece
of software, regardless of whether the author wants you to or not.

Other than that, from the pkgsrc point of view as well as from the point
of view of a package user, the only things that matter are whether or
not you can freely obtain a legal copy of the source and wether or not
you can put it on a CD-ROM, and/or on your FTP server, and similarly for
the binary build of a package.  (though see below about patents & crypto)

I.e. unless someone is considering making a CD that they'll sell for a
profit, even marking GPL packages is pointless.

Note that it might make sense, at least in some insane parts of the
world (eg. the USA), to re-define the meaning of ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES in
order to have it specify whether or not a given package contains
software that is protected by patent.  Similarly in other parts of the
world, and perhaps still in some cases in the USA, there are
import/export and use restrictions on certain types of software, such as
crypto.  However the generic use of RESTRICTED can do these things
adequately already.

So, in other words I think it's even more important now that the
ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES stuff be completely eradicated from pkgsrc.

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
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