Licensing guidelines changes

Tom "spot" Callaway tcallawa at
Fri Aug 3 13:23:22 UTC 2007

On Fri, 2007-08-03 at 02:06 -0400, Tom Lane wrote:
> Jason L Tibbitts III <tibbs at> writes:
> > The fun is just beginning, I think; we're trying to be correct in a
> > way that most upstreams aren't.
> Yeah.  The scheme seems to presume that upstream licenses fall into
> a small number of categories, which I'm not sure is true.
> One problem I've got in my package set is that mysql is GPLv2 (not +)
> with additional permissions --- they're not LGPL, but they give
> permission for their libraries to be linked with code that's under
> certain other open-source licenses.  What do I do with that?  For the
> moment I just marked it "License: GPLv2" but should I mention the
> additional permissions, and if so how?

License: GPLv2 with exceptions

I've added an entry for MySQL (linking to the exceptions:

> I'm also wondering about variant ways of phrasing BSD-style licenses.
> I'm responsible for libjpeg, libpng, and libtiff, all of which I
> consider to be BSD-spirit (that's not just guessing, I was involved
> with all of them years ago) and all of which are currently marked
> "License: BSD".  But they all are old enough to predate the convention
> of using standardized license wording.  I was astonished to discover
> tonight that spot's license list has "zlib/libpng" as a separate entry.
> If that's not considered "BSD" then libjpeg certainly needs its own
> entry, and I'm not too sure that libtiff doesn't.  Are we going to
> insist on chopping our licenses that finely? 

Yes. While it may not seem to matter in this case, being able to cleanly
differentiate between changes in wording is quite important when
auditing things like linking compliance.

And if it indeed doesn't matter in the specific cases that you mention,
then maybe it is time to try to bring the license wording to the
standardized license.

Believe me, my intent was not to cause you pain over this, but we just
need to have a better way of distinguishing licenses. BSD-ish covers a
far too wide range of licenses, with varying restrictions (and in some
cases, licenses that aren't BSD-ish at all).

Please send me the license texts for the items in question (libjpeg,
libtiff, and we'll look them over and figure out where they go).


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