Subject: Re: "University-style" vs "Berkeley" licenses
From: "Robert A. Bruce" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 00:40:18 -0700

Keith Bostic <> said...
>>>While I would prefer that the language weren't there, this isn't correct.
>>>The statement says "mentioning features or use".  You only have to give
>>>notice if you specifically mention features that you obtained from
>>>elsewhere.  Sure, some folks simply do a laundry list, but only because
>>>it's simpler and they don't want to bother actually thinking about it.
>> Yes, it is conditional, but it is still a !@#$ nuisance.  Let's say that
>> I want to create an advertisement that mentions the inclusion of several
>> packages, including 4.4BSD-Lite.  With this restriction, I'm forced to
>> put in an explanatory note for each one.  This is a hassle and one that
>> I see as quite unnecessary.
>I don't mean to attack Rich, but I hear this argument about once a week,
>and it's not growing on me.
>Let me see if I'm fully comprehending the facts:
>    Someone did some work (often, a *lot* of work).
>    And asked that they be given recognition for it.  No money, just
>    simple recognition.
>    And Company XXX found that work sufficiently useful that they're
>    going to go and pay an advertising firm money to tell potential
>    customers that they have that work, because it will increase the
>    money they're going to make.
>    And after not paying for the work and about to make a profit by
>    selling it, Company XXX now complains because acknowledging the
>    poor bastard that did all the work they're selling is a "hassle"
>    and "quite unnecessary", not to mention a "nuisance"?
>Guess I'm just not tough enough for the corporate boardroom,

I don't think anyone wants to deny recognition to the authors, but you
need to be realistic Keith.  We pay thousands of dollars for an ad that
is only a few square inches.  We couldn't fit the entire BSD aknowledgement
in even if we use a 2 point font and deleted everything else in the ad.
Requiring the aknowledgements to be included with the software is perfectly
reasonable.  Requiring it to be included in advertisements is ridiculous.

Since including the aknowledgement is totally out of the question, we
were reluctant to mention BSD products in our ads.  After consulting
with several different lawyers, we decided that the BSD advertising
restrictions were not enforcable, and started promoting BSD products,
without including the acknowledgements.

But it is much harder to convince resellers to promote the products.  Most
businesspeople worry about some random lawsuit destroying their business,
so why advertise a product that could cause problems, when there are
hundreds of other products?  I used to tell them that UCB was unlikely
to actually sue anyone.  But I no longer say that.  UCB threatened to sue
us for including a program called "tkman" on one of our CDROMs, that had
a similar anti-advertising copyright.  I have no idea why they focused
on that particular program, or why they came after us, since lots of other
distributors included the program (and still do).  Like most things involving
lawyers, it seemed random and pointless.  After spending several thousand
dollars in legal expenses, we finally convinced the UCB lawyers to back down
after we agreed to delete every copy of tkman from all of our CDROMs, and all
of our FTP archives (which, of course, is the exact opposite of what the author

So these silly restrictions have cost us thousands of dollars, cost the
California taxpayers thousands more, led to less advertising and promotion
of BSD products, which means that fewer people are using BSD software, and
thus less recognition for the programmers who wrote the software. 

The UCB advertising restrictions are stupid, counter-productive, and do
far more damage than you realize.