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Re: OpenLDAP Licenseing issues

On Fri, May 23, 2003 at 10:49:59PM -0700, Howard Chu wrote:

> > As I understand it, the "must" requirement of your license is entirely
> > GPL-compatible, as the GPL also stipulates that one may not
> > misrepresent
> > the origin of the work.  The problem arises if we understand your
> > license to require a specific interpretation of "misrepresentation by
> > omission".  If your "should" can be understood as a recommendation
> > rather than a binding requirement, and you are willing to leave the
> > final determination of "misrepresentation by omission" to the
> > courts, I
> > see no reason why this license couldn't be regarded as GPL-compatible.

> Since I'm not a lawyer I seem to be missing where the conflict arises. Having
> just read thru the text of the GPL at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html I
> see nothing in that license that conflicts with these terms. The GPL's
> distribution terms require you to distribute source code or make source code
> available when you distribute a Program. It's primary concern is ensuring
> free access to source code. There is nothing in my license statement that
> restricts anyone's ability to distribute source code. Nor is there anything
> in the GPL that talks about the documentation that accompanies a Program; as
> such I see these issues as completely orthogonal.

The precise chain is:

- We distribute binaries of a GPL app, e.g. Samba, that are linked
  against libldap.
- Section 3 of the GPL says that to do this, we must distribute the
  source code to the application and "all modules it contains" under the
  terms of Sections 1 and 2 of the GPL.
- Sections 1 and 2 do not include a requirement that authors be
  mentioned in the documentation of the work; therefore
- Distribution of parts of the GPL-mandated source code under a license
  that contains such a requirement is not equivalent to distribution of
  the source code *under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 of the GPL*, and
- We are not in compliance with the GPL when we ship such binaries.

I imagine the point you overlooked, as many people do, was that it's not
sufficient to distribute the source code; the source code must be
distributed under terms that give the user the precise freedoms that the
GPL grants.  Since this does include the freedom to not list the
author's name in the documentation, and does not include the freedom to
misrepresent the origin of the work, the question of GPL compatibility
hinges on whether you're making a request, or stipulating a requirement.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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