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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] Fwd: RFC: proposed GPLv3 license exception draft
From: Ralph Castain (rhc_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-04-24 14:29:00


Okay, so here is a typical scenario that we have engaged in
occasionally. We have a problem in our build system, and the autotools
folks ask us to do a debugging and/or verbose run and send them the
output. We do that, but it goes out over the mailing list and/or hits
some gmail accounts.

So now we have effectively distributed that output, yes? And so now we
have violated the new license?

Frankly, this all seems absurd to me. The GPL continues to grow in its
unfriendliness. Perhaps it is time we reconsider our use of these
tools - we had given some consideration in the past to moving, and
maybe we need to do so again.

Count me frustrated with GPL nonsense.

On Apr 24, 2009, at 12:21 PM, Paul H. Hargrove wrote:

> 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
> _______________________________________________
> devel mailing list
> devel_at_[hidden]
> http://www.open-mpi.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/devel