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SubjectRE: Reiserfs licencing - possible GPL conflict?
Date

I think you're misunderstanding the plain language of what he is saying. He
is saying that he is offering it under the GPL license. But if you want
additional rights not granted under the GPL license (such as the right to
include it in a proprietary operating system), you may be able to purchase
them from him.

DS

> Mike,
>
> My attorneys have reviewed this license and they tell me that this means
> that the ReiserFS is ***NOT*** open sourced. Using it with this
> restriction makes any commercial vendors who want to ship it liable for
> damages claims, since the act of shipping it means they will integrate
> it with an OS. We thought of doing something similiar with NWFS, but
> our attorneys, after spending several weeks examining the GPL and
> reviewing case law for open source IP, advised us is that we either
> could "give it all away" or restrict it, but that if we placed any
> restrictions on it, it wasn't open sourced. If you place any use
> restrictions, then you are in essence not releasing as "open" source.
> As such, we opted for the full GPL with no restrictions, since they
> defeat the whole purpose under current US law. I know lots of folks
> want to maintain some control (which is not a bad thing if you are
> trying to turn a profit), but they should understand that a GPL+ license
> scheme defeats the whole point and makes the stuff less attractive .....
>
> Food for thought.
>
> Jeff
>
>
> "Mike A. Harris" wrote:
> >
> > This message is not intended to start a negative discussion, but
> > rather to clarify some licencing confusion. I hope that after
> > reading this, a quick and simple change to the distribution of
> > reiserfs which will eliminate licencing confusion, and possible
> > legal holes. (Might even be a good idea to have a lawyer look
> > over the text.)
> >
> > I just downloaded the latest 2.2.13 reiserfs patch for linux, and
> > just read the file:
> >
> > /usr/src/linux/fs/reiserfs/README
> >
> > Inside this readme file it contains the 'licence terms' of the
> > reiserfs code.
> >
> > Here is the relevant portion from that file reformatted for
> > email, but otherwise intact:
> >
> > ---- Reiserfs licence ------------------------------------------
> > Reiserfs is hereby licensed according to the Gnu Public License,
> > but with the following special terms: you may not integrate it
> > into any kernel (or if not added to a kernel, into any software
> > system) which is not also a GPL kernel (software system) without
> > obtaining from Hans Reiser an exception to this license.
> >
> > Along with that exception you will probably also obtain support
> > and customization services, all of it for a fee. In the event
> > that you (or a court) do not accept this interpretation of the
> > GPL, you may choose to not use Reiserfs. I (Hans Reiser) retain
> > all rights to license it as I desire in ways other than this
> > license.
> >
> > Note that it is the policy of Namesys to license its software on
> > reasonable terms which are in accord with the antitrust laws.
> > While one might argue that the GPL violates the antitrust laws,
> > you should contact us and I believe you will find that we are
> > willing to license in accord with those laws.
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > I have not compiled or used reiserfs yet due to licencing
> > confusion.
> >
> > Once again, let me state that the purpose of this email message
> > is to CLARIFY the reiserfs licence terms, and if in fact it is
> > licenced using the GNU General Public Licence V2 or later, to
> > have the relevant text of the file changed to reflect this, and
> > to also include the relevant and required GNU "COPYING" file
> > which contains the full text of the GPL licence.
> >
> > There, now that that is said...
> >
> > The text above from the reiserfs readme file states "Gnu public
> > licence". Strictly speaking - legally - no such licence exists
> > to my knowledge. A court of law would probably not equate "GNU
> > public licence" to be the same as "GNU General Public Licence",
> > and as such I would like to see this clarified if possible.
> >
> > The GPL is referenced later in the statement, which makes me
> > believe that reiserfs is in fact intended to be under the GPL
> > licence. However, the first paragraph goes on to mention what
> > appear to be "further restrictions" which are explicitly
> > prohibited by the GPL licence. Further inspection seems to show
> > that the "restrictions" are not really so - even though worded as
> > such, because any GPL work must remain GPL anyways. So basically
> > the "following special terms" are not necessary to begin with
> > because the GNU GPL allready explicitly forbids inclusion in a
> > non GPL work.
> >
> > One other thing: Hans, et al. are perfectly free to licence
> > their code under any number of different licencing schemes, as
> > stated more or less in the above blurb from the readme. This is
> > perfectly ok, and doesn't in any way muck with GPL issues.
> >
> > What is certainly unclear however is WHAT the EXACT licencing of
> > this filesystem code is, and not in writing that is open to
> > interpretation.
> >
> > Thus, I suggest openly, that to rectify any confusion, and also
> > make things more "legally sound":
> >
> > 1) If reiserfs is in fact licenced under GNU GPL, that the GNU
> > GPL licence file be included with it. This is the "COPYING"
> > file which is available from http://www.gnu.org, or comes with
> > virtually any official GNU software. Lack of inclusion of the
> > actual text of the licence leaves room for legal
> > "assumptions". Don't assume - include the actual licence
> > text explicitly.
> >
> > 2) The GPL licence actually states that the licence text must
> > be included with the code for which is licenced with. In
> > other words, to licence something under GPL, you must include
> > the full text of the licence. Also, any code which is GPL
> > licenced, needs to have text in the source code in comments or
> > whatnot that claims something along the lines "This code is
> > licenced under the GNU GPL licence version 2 or later"...
> >
> > Reference from the GPL:
> >
> > 1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
> > source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
> > conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an
> > appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep
> > intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the
> > absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the
> > Program a copy of this License along with the Program.
> >
> > Also from the GPL:
> >
> > How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs
> >
> > If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the
> > greatest possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this
> > is to make it free software which everyone can redistribute and
> > change under these terms.
> >
> > To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is
> > safest to attach them to the start of each source file to most
> > effectively convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file
> > should have at least the "copyright" line and a pointer to where
> > the full notice is found.
> >
> > <one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what
> > it does.>
> > Copyright (C) 19yy <name of author>
> >
> > This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
> > modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
> > published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of
> > the License, or (at your option) any later version.
> >
> > This program is distributed in the hope that it will be
> > useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied
> > warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
> > See the GNU General Public License for more details.
> >
> > You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public
> > License along with this program; if not, write to the Free
> > Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA
> > 02111-1307 USA
> > --------------------
> >
> > If the reiserfs code and licencing were modified using the
> > guidelines given directly in the GPL licence document, it would
> > make things much more understandable and "unambiguous".
> >
> > Further licencing of reiserfs code could be included in a
> > "LICENCE" file of sorts. Something like:
> >
> > [LICENCE] This software is hereby licenced under the GNU General
> > Public Licence version 2 or later. Please see the file "COPYING"
> > which should have accompanied this software distribution for
> > details of that licence.
> >
> > Further licencing options are available for commercial and/or
> > other interests directly from the author at: <email address>
> >
> > Well, this is just a suggestion, meant in good - for both
> > reiserfs, and for Linux and GNU as well. I hope that the
> > licence text is updated in a similar way to what I've suggested
> > above, and I hope to soon try out the reiserfs code!
> >
> > Who knows, perhaps we'll even see it in-kernel eventually?
> >
> > Well, take care everyone!
> > TTYL
> >
> > --
> > Mike A. Harris Linux advocate
> > Computer Consultant GNU advocate
> > Capslock Consulting Open Source advocate
> >
> > Join the FreeMWare project - the goal to produce a FREE program in
> > which you can run Windows 95/98/NT, and other operating systems.
> >
> > http://www.freemware.org
> >
> > -
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