Subject: Re: [Frank da Cruz : Re: Kermit and
To: Andrew Gillham <>
From: Frank da Cruz <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/23/1999 12:24:37
> Frank da Cruz writes:
> >
> > If they used Kermit in their product; if they didn't, they could remove it.
> This can be a hassle for them.
They're making money, they deserve to do a little work.

> > It's your distribution and you make the rules.  I would only comment that
> > a rule like this might not be in everybody's best interest, and therefore
> > some of the other "free Unix" distributions handle this situation in some
> > way, like putting packages that have "interesting" licenses in some
> > special place where the end user can enter with open eyes, or simply
> > warning them to read copyright notices before assuming that any particular
> > package can be resold or whatever.  They do this now for packages other
> > than Kermit.
> I believe part of this is that the "end user" is not the only target for
> NetBSD.  Adding a license that is only useful to and end user reduces the
> available options.
> From a NetBSD user standpoint, I believe that the goal is to reduce the
> number of "oddball" licenses in the NetBSD distribution, with the ultimate
> goal of the entire base being under the NetBSD Foundation copyright.
> While this doesn't directly affect the packages, it would be silly to get
> the base under a unified copyright, yet have highly restrictive licenses
> shipping on the same CDROM.
"Highly restrictive" might be overstating the case, but as we all know from
watching the licensing wars on the newsgroups, there is a multiplicity of
licenses, and of opinions about each one.  People (end users, companies)
have to learn to live in this world of diversity.  Why should it be our
concern to shield them from it?

> At some point it should be possible to download the NetBSD x.y ISO from
> the net, and produce your own CDs for resale.  
> > I think most NetBSD users would like to have C-Kermit (and other popular
> > packages with "free for noncommercial use" licenses) included for their
> > own use, preconfigured and ready to go.  The question is whether this is
> > more important than the freedom of companies to resell other people's
> > software without bothering to check its status.
> Perhaps many users, but probably not most.  Personally I don't use C-Kermit
> now, and don't have any future plans to.  Mostly because I haven't need it
> yet. :-)  Still, I prefer to use non-restrictive software.
If you have permission to use some software, why refuse to use it because
somebody else might to be allowed to sell it?  I don't understand the
rationale behind this.  Why are people who sell other people's work the main
focus of concern?

> I have a "test"
> machine at work, and even though my company doesn't necessarily get any
> commercial benefit from my using this machine, I can't use many software
> packages on it.  This is because of the "no commercial use" clauses.  As I
> prefer to not become dependent on a software package at home, that I then
> can't use at work, I try to avoid these restricted packages.
I think you misunderstand -- companies can use C-Kermit internally all they
want.  They can even put it up on their servers for customers to use.  What
they can NOT do without permission is commoditize it -- furnish it to their
customers or clients in a commercial setting.  To us, it's not a matter of
ideology or principal, but one of practicality in our situation.

> So I guess what I am saying is that from a NetBSD user's perspective, I
> would hate to see some kind of "single level use" license change to a
> "restricted" package, just to allow it on the NetBSD CDROM.  (and to have
> the license become restricted again for the next person/level)
Right, this is your decision.  Personally, if I were creating some kind of
commercial product to sell, and I wanted to include some third-party
software in it, I would not mind asking for permission and even paying for
it if the price was right.  I certainly would not feel it was my absolute
right to sell the work of others.  This is just common human courtesy and

- Frank