Subject: Re: Advertising Clauses in Licenses
From: Bruce Perens <>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 20:56:23 -0800

On Sun, Jan 20, 2002 at 12:07:53PM -0800, Lawrence E. Rosen wrote:
> I am unmoved by this perceived threat to free or open source software.

Perhaps you've never had to put together a Linux distribution, or an embedded
Linux product. Consider the overhead this places on Debian, which has
up to 5000 packages in a distribution. Some volunteer has to go through
and check each of those 5000 packages for an acknowledgement requirement
with every release, and make sure that the end-user documentation stays
in sync, which is one less person making free software for a pretty long

> The individuals and communities who create free and open source software
> deserve to receive credit for their contributions.  Is it asking too
> much to require the authors of derivative works to acknowledge the
> contributions through simple notices?

Every package generally gets to publish its credits in the place in the
user software, where the online copyright statement is kept. This can be
managed automaticaly, so it's not a hassle. But to put it in the user manuals
and advertising can become quite a burden.

One of the goals of the OSD was to have software that the user could run
without having to read the license or take any special action. Note that
this is the user, not the creator of a derived work. But if the software
licenses ask the user to put badges on their home page, that really
blows the premise that the user can run it without having to investigate

> Suppose the list of contributions grows long.  Is it expecting too much
> for the authors of derivative works to include a text file listing those
> contributions along with the software?
No, not as long as it can be handled automaticaly, as with the files in
(on Debian) /usr/share/doc/<package-name> .


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