Subject: Re: ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES+=opera-license
To: None <>
From: Frederick Bruckman <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 11/01/2000 13:41:44
On Wed, 1 Nov 2000, Alistair Crooks wrote:

> >  How many unique licenses do you suppose there are? Consider that if
> >  the author chooses to paraphrase the GPL for his own purposes, that's
> >  a unique license. 50? 100? 500?
> >  
> >  Who's asking for this, anyway? "pkgsrc" needs to know _something_
> >  about the license -- at least enough to know whether it's OK to
> >  mirror the source, but beyond that, why can't the user just unpack the
> >  distribution and read the license himself?
> >  
> You assume that everyone is connected to the Internet at all times.
> Sometimes distfiles run into the tens of megabytes - are you seriously
> telling me I should download all of that (and some people in the developing
> countries of Western Europe, like UK and Germany, still have to pay for
> that) just to find that a licence is too onerous for me to use?

Well, the package's home page usually describes the license as well.
> I thought we all agreed that having an idea up-front of the terms of the
> licence was a good thing?

I thought we'd gone over all this on our way to the _present_ system.
I'm leery of extending it.
> As to the number of licences - that should be exactly the same as the number
> that we have in ACCEPTABLE_LICENCES in mk.conf.example, which is creeping
> up, but was less than 10 last time I looked. I'd also like GPL and BSD
> licences in there for completeness, nothing else.

I think it will be more than ten. "fee-based-commercial-use",
"no-commercial-use" and "shareware" are not stock licenses, like BSD
license and GPL, but rather general categories. If you're going to
purport to give the user the details of the license before
downloading, then it becomes incumbent on you to provide all the
details, that is the exact wording, verbatim, for every package with a
license (IMO).

If I'm guilty of assuming anything, I'm guilty of assuming that just
about every package we have is permitted to the typical user.
Otherwise, how is it that the software can be downloaded at all? On
the other hand, if you're not a typical user, say you're building a
"black-box" NetBSD distribution for sale, than it's incumbent on you
to do your own research.

I suggest we could do with a short description of each possible
license tag, either in Packages.txt or in a seperate document, and
urge the interested user to fill in the details for himself, using his
own research.