Subject: Re: x11/openmotify license terms
To: Dieter Baron <>
From: Greg Troxel <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 05/15/2006 21:06:42
Dieter Baron <> writes:

>   What do FSF and OSI have to say about the OpenMotif license?  After
> all, those are the documented criteria for setting LICENSE (pkgsrc
> guide 16.5.2):

The license is clearly not Open Source or Free.  The motif folks admit
that it fails to meet the open source definition in their FAQ.

>   A set LICENSE does not seem to prevent the file from being uploaded on
>, as shown by
> 	/pub/pkgsrc/packages-2006Q1/NetBSD-3.0/i386/All/povray-3.6.1nb3.tgz
> which has LICENSE set to povray-license.

I had a bug in the Makefile in the setting of variables, which ended
up fail-safe to NO_BIN_ON_FTP being set on all systems.  It's fixed
now, I think.

Thanks you for posting a clear example.

>   So it seems clear that documented practice dictates we set LICENSE
> for OpenMotif (unless and until we know that either FSF or OSI
> approved the license).  If someone thinks we should not set LICENSE
> for OpenMotif, please acknowledge that you are calling our current
> practice into question and state why you think it needs amending.

Well said.

>   BTW: I don't think it makes sense to set NO_SRC_ON_FTP for non open
> source operating system and not set it on open source operating
> systems: Either we are allowed to redistribute the sources, or we are
> not.

Well....  the license says that the source can be distributed on or
for open source OSes, so there's this murky bit about intent lurking
there.  Trying to be respectful to the Open Group and follow their
wishes (even if not enforceable), I let NO_SRC_ON_FTP be unset on
NetBSD, etc., and set on Interix/IRIX/etc.  So this means if one ran
an FTP site on Interix and had a distfile mirror it would be missing.
I think this would be viewed by the Open Group as the right call.
Of course, TNF isn't applying force to make anyone do this; the
Interix-based FTP site gets to locally edit and choose themselves.

>   As for ONLY_FOR_PLATFORM: Currently, the pkgsrc guide is rather
> vague in which situation it should be used.

I think that's a bug and that license things should be called out as
inappropriate because mixing license and technical  is unclean.

> However, if the main concern here is that a bulk builder setting
> _ACCEPTABLE violates the license simply by building the package, a
> better solution might be to flag a license as needing explicit
> acceptance.  If OpenMotif is the only such package, and there is no
> way for a user to obtain a license permitting building/using the
> package, setting ONLY_FOR_PLATFORM is probably okay.

I still think ONLY_FOR_PLATFORM is not right.  Setting _ACCEPTABLE is
saying "I don't care about licenses; I want to do this anyway."  In
the general case that's a bit much.  Doing a bulk build and respecting
NO_BIN_ON_FTP means that any infringement claim is limited to "you
downloaded this file from our web site (and we let you) and then built
it and threw away the result, in order to test if it worked, and we
claim that's improper".  IANAL, but that's a pretty tough case to make
for infringement.

It may be that we want a new variable for bulk builds which is like
_ACCEPTABLE but only allows packages that don't set NO_BIN_ON_FTP.
But then we don't get failure reports for those, and I'm unaware of
any copyright holder being cranky about that while not being cranky
about their bits being supported by pkgsrc.

        Greg Troxel <>