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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] Fwd: RFC: proposed GPLv3 license exception draft
From: Paul H. Hargrove (PHHargrove_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-04-24 14:21:47


Thanks for getting expert review on this, Jeff.

<IANAL>
For the record, it is my understanding that the autotools, gcc and
similar projects have all been very careful in the GPL3 transition to
ensure that *use* of their respective tools will continue to be as
"free" as it has always been: no restrictions on what one can do with
the normal "output" from these tools.

I believe concern of the forwarded posting was to ensure that "output"
was properly classified to avoid excluding any valid uses. For
instance, there is a clear statement that "verbose", "debugging" and
"tracing" outputs from autoconf are *not* eligible for the license
exception, and this is a tighter definition than used previously. Is
that restriction a problem for anybody? For OMPI I would say NO, but
only for lack of knowing otherwise.

So, while Jeff has checked that his Lawyers are all happy, there is
still a burden on us geeks. We need to look at how we are *using* the
various GNU software packages to see if we are distributing under a
non-GPL license anything the revised license exceptions would say we
cannot. This is not something we can expect our lawyers to do for us.
</IANAL>

-Paul

Jeff Squyres wrote:
> To follow up for the web archives, I chatted with Cisco legal about
> this and they were fine with it.
>
> On Apr 21, 2009, at 3:12 PM, Jeff Squyres (jsquyres) wrote:
>
>> IANAL and don't understand most of what is listed below.
>>
>> If the GNU Autotools go to GPL3, will we be unable to upgrade beyond
>> the last versions that are GPL2? I see the phrase "we still want to
>> allow people to distribute the normal output of Autoconf under any
>> license they want", but I'm wondering if Cisco will be afraid of GPL3...
>>
>> I think I'll need to ask Cisco's lawyers about this. Can others ask
>> their corporate overlords as well?
>>
>>
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>
>> > From: "Ralf Wildenhues" <Ralf.Wildenhues_at_[hidden]>
>> > Date: April 21, 2009 2:46:37 PM EDT
>> > To: <autoconf_at_[hidden]>, <automake_at_[hidden]>, <libtool_at_[hidden]>,
>> <autotools-announce_at_[hidden]
>> > >
>> > Subject: RFC: proposed GPLv3 license exception draft
>> > Reply-To: <autoconf_at_[hidden]>
>> >
>> > [ cross-posted to several groups; please followup on the autoconf
>> > list ]
>> >
>> > In order to complete the GNU Project's migration to GPLv3, every GNU
>> > program that has exceptions to its license needs to have those
>> > exceptions updated for GPLv3. We've prepared draft text for an
>> > updated
>> > version of the Autoconf exception, and we're interested in hearing
>> > your
>> > feedback on it.
>> >
>> > The primary purpose of this update is to have the exception build on
>> > top
>> > of the framework for Additional Permissions that GPLv3 provides in
>> > section 7. We are not trying to change the exception's underlying
>> > policy: we still want to allow people to distribute the normal
>> > output of
>> > Autoconf under any license they want. However, the new draft does try
>> > to address new issues that have come up since the current GPLv2-based
>> > exception was written.
>> >
>> > The new exception grants people permission to distribute Eligible
>> > Output
>> > Material under terms of their choice. In short, Eligible Output
>> > Material is a more formally defined way of talking about the
>> > "configure
>> > scripts" that are the subject of the old GPLv2-based exception. One
>> > change of note is that it is defined to explicitly exclude tracing
>> > output, to prevent people from using that mechanism to be able to
>> > distribute more source under the terms of the exception than they are
>> > supposed to be able to. If anyone causes Autoconf to output stuff
>> > that
>> > is not Eligible Output Material, then they will not be able to take
>> > advantage of the exception: they would have to distribute the
>> > configure
>> > scripts under the terms of GPLv3 alone.
>> >
>> > Another benefit of the new exception is that it is not FSF-specific in
>> > any way. When other copyright holders make modified versions of
>> > Autoconf, they can apply the exact same permission text to their
>> > changes, and it will work the way people want.
>> >
>> > We hope that this new exception will help make Autoconf's licensing a
>> > little more clear and robust -- if also a little more verbose -- in
>> > the
>> > same way that GPLv3 has done for the entire free software
>> > community. We
>> > are interested in hearing feedback from Autoconf developers about
>> > whether there might be intended good uses of the software that are not
>> > covered by this exception -- or conversely, known bad uses of the
>> > software that might be covered. We're also interested in hearing if
>> > there are particular parts of the text that you think might be
>> > misunderstood by developers: it may not always be possible, but we'd
>> > like for this exception to be as clear as possible to as many people
>> > as
>> > possible. If you're interested, please review the text and let us
>> > know
>> > what you think.
>> >
>> > Below is the text of the proposed exception.
>> >
>> > Thanks to Brett Smith for help in preparing this message.
>> >
>> > --- cut ---
>> >
>> > This Exception is an additional permission under section 7 of the GNU
>> > General Public License, version 3 ("GPLv3").
>> >
>> > The purpose of this Exception is to allow distribution of Autoconf's
>> > typical output under terms of the recipient's choice (including
>> > proprietary).
>> >
>> > 0. Definitions
>> >
>> > "Covered Code" is any source code and/or object code of Autoconf
>> > that is a
>> > covered work under this License.
>> >
>> > "Eligible Output Material" is Covered Code that is included in the
>> > standard, minimally verbose, non-debugging and non-tracing output of
>> > the
>> > version of Autoconf distributed to you under this License. Moreover,
>> > "Eligible Output Material" may be comprised only of Covered Code
>> > that (a)
>> > must necessarily appear in Autoconf-generated configure scripts and
>> > (b) is
>> > required for those configure scripts to function.
>> >
>> > "Ineligible Output Material" is Covered Code that is not Eligible
>> > Output
>> > Material.
>> >
>> > 1. Grant of Additional Permission.
>> >
>> > You have permission to propagate output of Autoconf, even if such
>> > propagation would otherwise violate the terms of GPLv3. However, if
>> > you
>> > cause Autoconf to output any Ineligible Output Material, you do not
>> > have
>> > permission to convey the resulting covered work under this Exception
>> > and
>> > you must remove this Exception in accordance with the second
>> > paragraph of
>> > GPLv3's Section 7.
>> >
>> > 2. No Weakening of Autoconf Copyleft.
>> >
>> > The availability of this Exception does not imply any general
>> > presumption
>> > that third-party software is unaffected by the copyleft requirements
>> > of
>> > the license of Autoconf.
>> >
>> > --- cut ---
>> >
>> >
>>
>>
>> --
>> Jeff Squyres
>> Cisco Systems
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> devel mailing list
>> devel_at_[hidden]
>> http://www.open-mpi.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/devel
>
>

-- 
Paul H. Hargrove                          PHHargrove_at_[hidden]
Future Technologies Group                 Tel: +1-510-495-2352
HPC Research Department                   Fax: +1-510-486-6900
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory