Subject: Re: [Frank da Cruz : Re: Kermit and
To: Andrew Gillham <>
From: Frank da Cruz <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/23/1999 14:14:29
Andrew Gillham writes:
> Frank da Cruz writes:
> > ...
> > 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
> > respect.
That paragraph did not come out right: "...if I were creating some kind of
commercial product to sell" was not aimed at the CD packagers but (again) at
the companies who get the CD and then base a commercial product on (some of)
its contents.

> I would not feel that way either.  From a NetBSD user's perspective I prefer
> having a limited set of licenses that apply to a NetBSD distribution.
> If a friend or coworker wants a copy of NetBSD, I can download/create a ISO
> image, burn a CD, and "sell" it to them for the cost of the blank. (US$1)
> With C-Kermit (and similarly licensed software) on the CD, I would be
> violating the copyright license terms. (as I understand them)
No, I don't think so.  It's hard to be specific enough in a conversation
like this (it reminds of me that old movie, "Bedazzled"...)  What I'm looking
for is a way to allow distribution of C-Kermit with NetBSD like any other
package that is distributed to with NetBSD, including what you just said,
but still not allowing commoditization or incorporation of C-Kermit into an
actual product (as opposed to a "free software collection") without a license.

When I say "actual product", I mean something that makes use of C-Kermit or
its code in a commercial setting, in which software or hardware incorporating
Kermit is provided by the seller to the buyer.  So I'm trying to make a
distinction between CDROM "free Unix" distributions (FreeBSD, NetBSD, various
Linuxes), which I would like see *include* C-Kermit, and other products in
which C-Kermit is actually used, for which it should be licensed.

For example: Suppose I want to manufacture cash registers for fast-food
chains.  Internally they will run the NetBSD OS, and they will use Kermit to
dial up the franchise headquarters every night to report receipts, update
inventory, etc.  I see in my NetBSD distribution it's OK to use NetBSD this
way without asking or telling anybody, but I also see that to use C-Kermit in
this application, I have to get a license from the Kermit Project.  I go to
the Kermit website to find out the conditions and pricing and decide whether
it's worth it.

Now I'm sure this can't be a unique situation, because I know that Red Hat
(for example) has an area in their distribution for packages with "oddball"
licenses, many of which are "free for noncommercial use" or "free for own
use", so that ordinary end users can use them but would-be productizers will
know to look at the copyright or terms.  Red Hat, Cheapbytes, and friends
do not license these packages, but the people who get the CDs from them and
want to put these packages into products have to.

I hope I'm being clearer now?

- Frank