Licensing question

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Licensing question

Philip Bock
I have written a program which uses Lua, which I intend to distribute in
binary-only form. I was just looking at http://www.lua.org/copyright.html
and wondering how this license applies to this situation. Does the line
which saya, "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall
appear in all copies or substantial portions of this package" also apply to
binary programs linked against the Lua library? If so, does this imply that
my program must be freely redistributable if it uses Lua?

Thanks, Philip Bock


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Re: Licensing question

Sean Middleditch
I'm under the assumption you are free to do as you wish; there are many
big-name commercial applications out there that use Lua.

The license is very similar to BSD.  The line you asked about is
granting permission to the copyrighted works, i.e., the source code. 
Your own code, and your binaries based on that code, may place all the
licensing restrictions on them that they want.  The Lua portions, are,
perhaps, allowed to be copied - how useful it is to be able to copy 3%
of a binary file is debatable.  The license doesn't clearly state what
the "Software" is.

Suffice to say, however, that a commercial application can be written
using Lua, and that application as a whole may remain as an inferior,
buggy proprietary product all it wishes to.  ~,^


On Wed, 2002-05-15 at 13:06, Philip Bock wrote:
> I have written a program which uses Lua, which I intend to distribute in
> binary-only form. I was just looking at http://www.lua.org/copyright.html
> and wondering how this license applies to this situation. Does the line
> which saya, "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall
> appear in all copies or substantial portions of this package" also apply to
> binary programs linked against the Lua library? If so, does this imply that
> my program must be freely redistributable if it uses Lua?
> 
> Thanks, Philip Bock
> 




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Re: Licensing question

Philip Bock
Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought.

Philip Bock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sean Middleditch" <[hidden email]>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: Licensing question


> I'm under the assumption you are free to do as you wish; there are many
> big-name commercial applications out there that use Lua.
>
> The license is very similar to BSD.  The line you asked about is
> granting permission to the copyrighted works, i.e., the source code.
> Your own code, and your binaries based on that code, may place all the
> licensing restrictions on them that they want.  The Lua portions, are,
> perhaps, allowed to be copied - how useful it is to be able to copy 3%
> of a binary file is debatable.  The license doesn't clearly state what
> the "Software" is.
>
> Suffice to say, however, that a commercial application can be written
> using Lua, and that application as a whole may remain as an inferior,
> buggy proprietary product all it wishes to.  ~,^
>
>
> On Wed, 2002-05-15 at 13:06, Philip Bock wrote:
> > I have written a program which uses Lua, which I intend to distribute in
> > binary-only form. I was just looking at
http://www.lua.org/copyright.html
> > and wondering how this license applies to this situation. Does the line
> > which saya, "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall
> > appear in all copies or substantial portions of this package" also apply
to
> > binary programs linked against the Lua library? If so, does this imply
that
> > my program must be freely redistributable if it uses Lua?
> >
> > Thanks, Philip Bock
> >
>
>
>
>


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Re: Licensing question

Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo
In reply to this post by Philip Bock
>I have written a program which uses Lua, which I intend to distribute in
>binary-only form. I was just looking at http://www.lua.org/copyright.html
>and wondering how this license applies to this situation. Does the line
>which saya, "The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall
>appear in all copies or substantial portions of this package" also apply to
>binary programs linked against the Lua library? If so, does this imply that
>my program must be freely redistributable if it uses Lua?

Binaries that link with the Lua library already contain a copyright string:

%ident lua
lua:
     $Lua: Lua 4.0 Copyright (C) 1994-2000 TeCGraf, PUC-Rio $
     $Authors: W. Celes, R. Ierusalimschy & L. H. de Figueiredo $

I think we mean that you're not allowed to remove this from you binary.

In any case, there is no restriction on your final program; you can sell it
or distribute it freely, as you wish. Lua's license is not viral like GPL.
--lhf

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Re: Licensing question

John Belmonte-2
lhf wrote:
Binaries that link with the Lua library already contain a copyright string:

%ident lua
lua:
     $Lua: Lua 4.0 Copyright (C) 1994-2000 TeCGraf, PUC-Rio $
     $Authors: W. Celes, R. Ierusalimschy & L. H. de Figueiredo $

I think we mean that you're not allowed to remove this from you binary.

I'm not an expert about licenses, but given this interpretation, I'd guess that not only is the Lua license not GPL compatible, but it also doesn't meet the requirements of most definitions of free software.

Do you have some evidence of the licenses which you've said are similar to Lua's (BSD and zlib) being interpreted in this way, as far as some stipulation about binary contents?

Take the BSD license, which clearly states:

    Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
    notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
    documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

In other words, it is enough to include the copyright notice anywhere with the distribution. There is no requirment on binary content.


In any case, there is no restriction on your final program; you can sell it
or distribute it freely, as you wish. Lua's license is not viral like GPL.

A subtle point, but the word "viral" has negative connotations, which is fine if you are an opponent to the use of the GPL license in all situations. However, I was hoping you would take a more neutral stance on the license choices made by other producers of software.


Regards,
-John



--
OpenPGP encrypted mail welcome.


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Re: Licensing question

Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo
In reply to this post by Philip Bock
>>      $Lua: Lua 4.0 Copyright (C) 1994-2000 TeCGraf, PUC-Rio $
>>      $Authors: W. Celes, R. Ierusalimschy & L. H. de Figueiredo $
>> 
>> I think we mean that you're not allowed to remove this from you binary.
>
>I'm not an expert about licenses, but given this interpretation, I'd 
>guess that not only is the Lua license not GPL compatible, but it also 
>doesn't meet the requirements of most definitions of free software.

I thought that was what we meant, but I was wrong. What we mean is what
the current Lua license says: "Lua 4.0 Copyright (C) 1994-2000 TeCGraf, PUC-Rio"
must appear somewhere in the distribution, not necessarily in the binary;
it's ok if it's in the documentation or README or somewhere else.

We definitely want Lua to remain as free as possible and GPL compatible.

I'm very sorry for the noise.
--lhf

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Re: Licensing question

Björn De Meyer
Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo wrote:
> I thought that was what we meant, but I was wrong. What we mean is what
> the current Lua license says: "Lua 4.0 Copyright (C) 1994-2000 TeCGraf, PUC-Rio"
> must appear somewhere in the distribution, not necessarily in the binary;
> it's ok if it's in the documentation or README or somewhere else.
> 
> We definitely want Lua to remain as free as possible and GPL compatible.
> 
> I'm very sorry for the noise.
> --lhf

I also apologise to but in here, but if I understand what the 
FSF says, it is exactly the requirement that the copyright is 
mentioned in the documentation that could cause incompatiblity 
with the GPL. The problem with the GPL is that it forbids any 
extra limitations on distribution outside the GPL. So,
we have to find out whether the requirement to mention Lua's 
copyright in the documentation is an 'incompatible' requirement.

I personally don't think so, but perhaps the people at the FSF 
think differently about it, so maybe we should ask them. A solution 
could be to allows "double licensing" under the GPL and the classic 
"lua" license. In that way GPL compatibility is guaranteed. wxel, just
my
two eurocents.



-- 
"No one knows true heroes, for they speak not of their greatness." -- 
Daniel Remar.
Björn De Meyer 
[hidden email]

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Re: Licensing question

kaishaku13
In reply to this post by John Belmonte-2
John Belmonte <jvb@p...> wrote:
> A subtle point, but the word "viral" has negative connotations, 
which is 
> fine if you are an opponent to the use of the GPL license in all 
> situations.  However, I was hoping you would take a more neutral 
stance 
> on the license choices made by other producers of software.

Funny that you mention it... I experienced a wonderfully blissful 
moment while reading that "viral" phrase and considered pasting it 
into my /beautiful quotes/ file.


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Re: Licensing question

John Belmonte-2
In reply to this post by Björn De Meyer
Björn De Meyer wrote:
I also apologise to but in here, but if I understand what the FSF says, it is exactly the requirement that the copyright is mentioned in the documentation that could cause incompatiblity with the GPL. The problem with the GPL is that it forbids any extra limitations on distribution outside the GPL.


The clause in the original BSD license that caused GPL incompatibility is this:

  All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
  must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes
  software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its
  contributors.


The Lua license does not have such a clause. Nonetheless, repeating myself, we need an official word from FSF on GPL compatibility, or we need the Lua authors/ Tecgraf to kindly switch to a standard license. I and a few others on the list would opt for the latter. When even the Lua authors are misinterpreting their own license, the difficulty of answering every day questions about "little licenses" (those not covered by common sources of license info such www.gnu.org and opensource.org) is plain to see.

By the way, I think the following two steps in the process for "Getting a License Approved" at opensource.org are very telling:


2. Tell us which existing OSI-approved license is most similar to your license. Explain why that license will not suffice for your needs. If your proposed license is derived from a license we have already approved, describe exactly what you have changed. This document is not part of the license; it is solely to help the board understand and review your license.

3. Explain how software distributed under your license can be used in conjunction with software distributed under other open source licenses. Which license do you think will take precedence for derivative or combined works? Is there any software license that is entirely incompatible with your proposed license?.


-John




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OpenPGP encrypted mail welcome.


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Re: Licensing question

Scott Morgan-2
FWIW, Found this in the list archive...

> No, but now Lua is classified as "free software" by the FSF (which means
> that its license was verified by them). See
> http://www.gnu.org/directory/lua.html
> -- Roberto

I think the guys are waiting for a finial release of the 4.1 code before
pushing on with any more licencing issues.

Scott

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Belmonte" <[hidden email]>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 6:31 AM
Subject: Re: Licensing question

..snip...
Nonetheless, repeating myself, we need an official word from FSF on GPL
compatibility
...snip...


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Re: Licensing question

Roberto Ierusalimschy
In reply to this post by John Belmonte-2
> Nonetheless, repeating myself, we need an official word from FSF on GPL
> compatibility, or we need the Lua authors/ Tecgraf to kindly switch to a
> standard license.

We are considering switching Lua license to a standard license, but we
cannot find a suitable one. Maybe we do not understand them, but it seems
to us that none of the "usual" licenses cover the kind of problems we
are having with the current license (besides the FSF sanction):

- "The modified BSD license": this seems a strong candidate. However, it
does not cover the documentation, but only the software itself.

- X11 license says: "provided that the above copyright notice(s) and
this permission notice appear in all copies of the Software and that
[both] appear in supporting documentation". Notice that they demand that
the copyright notice appear in the documentation *and* in the software.
How does this apply to binary distributions? Must the binary ("the
software") contain the copyright notice?

- expat (or MIT) license: "The above copyright notice and this
permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial
portions of the Software." Again, how does that apply to binary
(re)distribuition?

-- Roberto

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Re: Licensing question

jame

Why not submit the Lua license to make it an official
oss license? the process seems very simple.

Regards,
Jim

http://www.opensource.org/docs/certification_mark.html

Getting a License Approved
Put the license on a web page in HTML form. We will convert it into the same
style as the existing approved licenses. You can help us by publishing it in
that style yourself to save us the conversion step. ASCII text is preferred
if asked to post your license to the 'licence-discuss' mailing list.

http://www.lua.org/copyright.html

Tell us which existing OSI-approved license is most similar to your license.
Explain why that license will not suffice for your needs. If your proposed
license is derived from a license we have already approved, describe exactly
what you have changed. This document is not part of the license; it is
solely to help the board understand and review your license.

> - "The modified BSD license": this seems a strong candidate. However, it
> does not cover the documentation, but only the software itself.
>
> - X11 license says: "provided that the above copyright notice(s) and
> this permission notice appear in all copies of the Software and that
> [both] appear in supporting documentation". Notice that they demand that
> the copyright notice appear in the documentation *and* in the software.
> How does this apply to binary distributions? Must the binary ("the
> software") contain the copyright notice?
>
> - expat (or MIT) license: "The above copyright notice and this
> permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial
> portions of the Software." Again, how does that apply to binary
> (re)distribuition?

Explain how software distributed under your license can be used in
conjunction with software distributed under other open source licenses.
Which license do you think will take precedence for derivative or combined
works? Is there any software license that is entirely incompatible with your
proposed license?.

- It's not compatible (??), hence the need for a new approved Lua license.

Send your proposed license by email to [hidden email].
Indicate in the email whether you want the license posted to the
license-discuss list with your identification or anonymously.

( forward this message. :)

If we find that the license does not conform to the Open Source Definition,
we will work with you to resolve the problems. At the same time, we will
monitor the license-discuss list and work with you to resolve any problems
uncovered in public comment. As part of this process, we may also seek
outside legal advice on license issues. Once we are assured that the license
conforms to the Open Source Definition and has received thorough discussion
on license-discuss or by other reviewers, and there are no remaining issues
that we judge significant, we will notify you that the license has been
approved, copy it to our website, and add it to the list below.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Roberto Ierusalimschy" <[hidden email]>
To: "Multiple recipients of list" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2002 1:20 PM
Subject: Re: Licensing question


> > Nonetheless, repeating myself, we need an official word from FSF on GPL
> > compatibility, or we need the Lua authors/ Tecgraf to kindly switch to a
> > standard license.
>
> We are considering switching Lua license to a standard license, but we
> cannot find a suitable one. Maybe we do not understand them, but it seems
> to us that none of the "usual" licenses cover the kind of problems we
> are having with the current license (besides the FSF sanction):
>
> - "The modified BSD license": this seems a strong candidate. However, it
> does not cover the documentation, but only the software itself.
>
> - X11 license says: "provided that the above copyright notice(s) and
> this permission notice appear in all copies of the Software and that
> [both] appear in supporting documentation". Notice that they demand that
> the copyright notice appear in the documentation *and* in the software.
> How does this apply to binary distributions? Must the binary ("the
> software") contain the copyright notice?
>
> - expat (or MIT) license: "The above copyright notice and this
> permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial
> portions of the Software." Again, how does that apply to binary
> (re)distribuition?
>
> -- Roberto
>
>
>


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Re: Licensing question

John Belmonte-2
In reply to this post by Roberto Ierusalimschy
Roberto wrote:
We are considering switching Lua license to a standard license, but we
cannot find a suitable one. Maybe we do not understand them, but it seems
to us that none of the "usual" licenses cover the kind of problems we
are having with the current license (besides the FSF sanction):

...
- expat (or MIT) license: "The above copyright notice and this
permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial
portions of the Software." Again, how does that apply to binary
(re)distribuition?

From my understanding of things, you cannot put a restriction on the contents of the binary (such as requiring it to contain some identification). The reason is that to do so you are conflicting with the user's permission to "modify the software without limitation" (that is, remove the lines of code that produce the identification). So the only way to comply with the license is to include the copyright notice and permission with the distribution but outside of the binary.

Apparently others are also interested in having this spelled out, looking at the University of Illinous OSL (http://opensource.org/licenses/UoI-NCSA.html). However that license is also relatively new and hasn't been reviewed for GPL compatibility.


Regards,
-John


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OpenPGP encrypted mail welcome.


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Re: Licensing question

Steve Dekorte-4
In reply to this post by Roberto Ierusalimschy

On Friday, May 17, 2002, at 11:20  AM, Roberto Ierusalimschy wrote:
- expat (or MIT) license: "The above copyright notice and this
permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial
portions of the Software." Again, how does that apply to binary
(re)distribuition?

It seems the common interpretation is to put it in the credits or info somewhere. For example, in GUI apps, there's typically a info panel where you can see the copyrights for the libs used. In command line apps, I assume they'd have a -help or -credits option that would print out the copyrights. For games, it would be on the credits screen.

Steve



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Re: Licensing question

Roberto Ierusalimschy
In reply to this post by Björn De Meyer
> I also apologise to but in here, but if I understand what the 
> FSF says, it is exactly the requirement that the copyright is 
> mentioned in the documentation that could cause incompatiblity 
> with the GPL. The problem with the GPL is that it forbids any 
> extra limitations on distribution outside the GPL.

I don't think this is a problem. The following licenses are all
GPL-compatible:

* The modified BSD licence: "Redistributions in binary form must
reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and
the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials
provided with the distribution."

* Standard ML of New Jersey Copyright Notice: "provided that [...] both
the copyright notice and this permission notice and warranty disclaimer
appear in supporting documentation"

-- Roberto