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Subject: Re: [pkcs11] Groups - PKCS #11 V2.30 header files uploaded

On 06.06.2013 22:13, Tim Hudson wrote:
> On 7/06/2013 3:00 AM, Stef Walter wrote:
>> The original 4 clause BSD license had a similar clause, and was not
>> GPL compatible. You can read the FSF's information about that here:
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#OriginalBSD 
> There are two categories of incompatibly in that list - those that are
> actually incompatible and those which the FSF or more accurately Richard
> Stallman simply don't want you to use because the original
> acknowledgement is considered "obnoxious". In practical terms, you have
> to actually see the "a module covered by the GPL and a module covered by
> the LICENSE_NAME cannot legally be linked together" in items in that
> list to locate something actually being claimed by the FSF as legally
> incompatible rather than philosophically incompatible.
> Read through http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html and also do note the
> conflicting statements at

The above offers opinions on the Original BSD license (with advertising
clause) when used as a license on its own. It does not conflict with:

> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#OrigBSD which offers a
> different view point on the topic as well.

The above is about using the Original BSD license (with advertising
clause) together with GPL software, and outlines incompatibility.

It is indeed this second item that causes people to reject the RSA
PKCS#11 headers for use together with GPL software.

> There is a substantial difference you get between the advice from the
> FSF legal team and the "political team" in this and many areas.

Again, as noted before, when there is legal ambiguity most of the open
source community simply rejects the code/headers in question, and routes
around the problem. Is this sometimes unnecessary? Perhaps.

You can see this in action here, whether you think it's silly or not:

> As always, seek legal advice from an appropriately qualified lawyer - I
> doubt there are any on this mailing list.

We might do this as a Technical Committee (although waiting for Robert's
reworked headers is appropriate here).

For better or for worse open source development is organic like
evolution. There is rapid mutation, spawning, death of projects, and so
on. To expect and every new open source project that somehow wants to
use a PKCS#11 header to consult a lawyer ... it's just not going to happen.

Instead what open source does is try to avoid the possible problems with
the licensing, (eg: in the RSA PKCS#11 headers), and use other
unencumbered re-implementations.

If this Technical Committee wants to provide header files that are
usable by everyone (well nearly everyone, there are always outliers),
then we should try to make the license as compatible and unambiguous as

If it is a non-goal to make the headers usable by a broad audience, then
we can ignore this issue. It's just one more (albeit minor) bump in the
road towards wider PKCS#11 adoption.

Once again ... it's not about what the lawyers say, it's about what
people actually do when faced with the issue. Different lawyers often
say completely different things especially when they practice in
different jurisdictions.

I am not here to seek or offer legal advice, merely to point out what
actually happens in the real world (well the open source part of the
real world, heh) when an attribution clause is present in an otherwise
liberal license.

> However I think you'll find that the new header files will have a
> different set of text on the front. Whether or not the OASIS text causes
> problems "However, this document itself may not be modified in any way,
> including by removing the copyright notice or references to OASIS,
> except as needed for the purpose of developing any document or
> deliverable produced by an OASIS Technical Committee (in which case the
> rules applicable to copyrights, as set forth in the OASIS IPR Policy,
> must be followed) or as required to translate it into languages other
> than English." and how that gets reflected into the header files remains
> to be see.

Yes, will be interesting. I'm waiting to see what that'll look like.



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