Subject: Re: X.Net, Inc. License
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sun, 5 Aug 2001 12:16:51 -0700
Sun, 5 Aug 2001 12:16:51 -0700
on Sun, Aug 05, 2001 at 08:58:30AM -0400, Russell Nelson (nelson@crynwr.com) wrote:
> Karsten M. Self writes:
>  > I'm assuming that markup isn't a legal part of the license -- and would
>  > strongly encourage submissions be made as plaintext, not HTML-tagged
>  > content.
> 
> If you got a Word .doc file, would you also assume that the markup
> isn't a legal part of the license?

If it was sufficiently bungled to foul up the tools I've got to handle
MS Word docs, I'd kick the file back to its source.  I've done this.
With internal council.  My experience is that MS Word cannot be used to
reliably replicate textual content.  Strong preference is raw text.

Interpreted markup is one thing.  Raw is quite another.

>  > With the exception of the deletion and the jurisdiction clause, the
>  > licenses are identical.  I'd kick this back to X.Net and ask whether
>  > they'd be willing to consider the MIT license,
> 
> Nope.  They want to specify jurisdiction, because they've had a
> problem in the past with jurisdictions which aren't friendly to open
> source.  They didn't specify which one it was.

I'd like to see further details.

My understanding is that any jurisdiction which was sufficiently
copyright-unfriendly as to allow copying and distribution in violation
of terms specified in a free software license, would likely not respect
jurisdictional clauses either.  Given that, absent license, Berne
signatories would leave exclusive rights with authors, I'm quite
puzzled.

Some licenses offer more complex terms, in which judicial interpretation
probably is significant, particularly most of the corporate licenses
(MozPL, IBM PL, Apple PL, Sun's suite, etc.).  As these are likely to be
of limited use, possible exception of MozPL, this isn't overly noxious.

Again, I'm concerned about license proliferation and the associate
bookkeeping overhead that comes with it.  The current xfree86 license
file for Debian (xfree86-common) checks in at 624 lines, or about 35KB.
It is comprised of licenses from:

     1	Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
     2	The XFree86 Project, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
     3	X Consortium
     4	The Regents of the University of California.  All rights
     5	NVIDIA, Corp.  All rights reserved.
     6	GLX PUBLIC LICENSE (Version 1.0 (2/11/99)) ("License")
     7	CID FONT CODE PUBLIC LICENSE (Version 1.0 (3/31/99))("License")

Not huge, but problematic when dealing with microdistros and embedded
solutions.

The first three licenses are identical save the trademark protection
clause [1].  The fourth includes the old BSD advertising clause.
The NVIDIA license is similar in terms to a BSD license, though
different in language.   The GLX and CID licenses are corporate
DFSG-compliant licenses from SGI.

X/BSD license proliferation is an issue in that aggregation of different
projects generally requires aggregating licenses.  Not a huge burden,
but another thing for the developer or packager to keep in mind, and
subtle licensing differences may result in unintentional technical
noncompliance with terms.

KISS.

--------------------
Notes:

1.  This argues for extracting this clause to a license amendment.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>            http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?               There is no K5 cabal
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