[linux-elitists] RPM non free?

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Tue Apr 6 16:04:28 PDT 2004

Quoting Greg KH (greg@kroah.com):

> Anyway, I don't see how the license for elfutils is "non-free" by any
> means.  Do you care to explain why you think it is not so?


If memory serves, Larry Rosen wrote OSL (like his somewhat similar
Academic Free License) in part to embody his view that it's preferable
for open-source licences to exist in the form of contracts, as opposed
to "bare copyright licences" a la GPL/LGPL and BSD licences.
Accordingly, after much discussion on OSI's license-discuss mailing
list, he put into it a so-called "clickwrap clause":

   If You distribute copies of the Original Work or a Derivative Work,
   You must make a reasonable effort under the circumstances to obtain
   the express assent of recipients to the terms of this License.

The current (2.0) version is at
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/osl-2.0.php .  The original 1.0
version at http://www.rosenlaw.com/osl.html appears not to have had the
clickwrap provision in question.

I'm guessing that Joey Hess's bug #239518 in which he announced
orphaning of the rpm package was based on that?  (Except I notice that
the bug says elfutils is "OSL1 for now", which indeed is the case as of
elfutils 0.94 at least, the latest I could find in tarball form.  Maybe
there's no clickwrap clause to be concerned about?)

Anyhow, there's always been a major divergence of views over clickwrap
clauses for open source on the OSI mailing list.  Proponents of
contract-based licensing see it as a logical necessity, in order to
ensure privity of contract.[1]  Pretty much everyone else regards it as a
potentially gruesome mess to be avoided if humanly possible.  I've been
thinking this might come back to haunt us, and voila!

That aside, presumably, the best person to clarify what Joey Hess
intended is the man himself, so I hereby conjure him by name.

[1] See "Contract Elements" on
http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Licensing_and_Law for my half-assed attempt to
recall that subject from business law class.

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