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Berkeley DB license (was Re: Points of order on this WG)

From: Nikunj R. Mehta <nikunj.mehta@oracle.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 15:27:43 -0700
Cc: public-webapps WG <public-webapps@w3.org>
Message-Id: <083ED289-7495-41A9-82B6-189FBDFCF017@oracle.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Jeremy Orlow <jorlow@chromium.org>, "L. David Baron" <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Maciej, David, Jeremy, Doug, others,

I understand the interest in using Berkeley DB in browsers provided  
appropriate licensing freedom were available. I am beginning to  
understand your concerns vis--vis Berkeley DB's license.

I have asked our legal team to clarify what they mean by the last para  
of the 3rd clause of the first license. As I understand it, it is the  
following text that appears problematic:

> For an executable file, complete source code means the source code  
> for all modules it contains.

Although it might be ideal, at this time, I cannot commit to having  
Berkeley DB be offered under a third (besides commercial and its  
current "open source") license. I can only suggest that we move  
forward one step at a time. I will try my best to get this issue  
clarified in the quickest possible time. I also reaffirm the approach  
that it should not be necessary to use Berkeley DB to implement the  
structured storage API Oracle is proposing.

I hope this helps. Feel free to suggest other licensing terms that  
appear problematic.


On Jun 26, 2009, at 12:42 PM, L. David Baron wrote:

> On Friday 2009-06-26 11:27 -0700, Jonas Sicking wrote:
>> Note that mozilla has since long made a commitment not to ship code
>> that is not compatible with all of GPL, LGPL *and* MPL. So unless the
>> BDB license is compatible with all those three we couldn't use BDB.
> I think our (Mozilla's) requirement is actually slightly stronger
> than license compatibility, at least as defined by
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License_compatibility .  Rather, I
> think we require that the licenses don't impose any restrictions in
> addition to those imposed by the MPL, the LGPL, or the GPL.  (In
> other words, that the license is less restrictive than *each* of
> those licenses.)
> For what it's worth, the license document in question, located at
> http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/berkeley-db/htdocs/oslicense.html
> appears to suggest that the files in the source code are covered
> under three different licenses (although it's not entirely clear to
> me what is meant by the concatenation of three licenses, my initial
> guess is that it means different parts are covered under different
> licenses).  The second and third given appear to me to be the
> three-part BSD license (varying by whether the copyright holder is
> the UC Regents or Harvard University).  If my quick glance is
> correct and this is identical to the three-part BSD license, then I
> suspect the second and third licenses are unlikely to be a problem
> for Mozilla; we already include code licensed under the three-part
> BSD license (see http://opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php ).
> The first license, on the other hand, appears to be a modified
> version of the BSD license, with the third claused replaced by an
> entirely different one.  I don't recognize this clause, and I
> suspect it would require legal analysis to determine whether it's
> less restrictive than the MPL, LGPL, and GPL.  (Though the part that
> says "For an executable file, complete source code means the source
> code for all modules it contains." seems pretty restrictive to my
> untrained eyes.)
> -David
> -- 
> L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
> Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Friday, 26 June 2009 22:30:03 UTC

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