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-   -   Clarify the "as-is" license? (http://www.linux-archive.org/gentoo-development/706594-clarify-license.html)

Ulrich Mueller 09-23-2012 10:56 AM

Clarify the "as-is" license?
 
From time to time cases like the following are brought up to
licenses@gentoo.org, for a package that is labelled with
LICENSE="as-is":

| Permission to use, copy, modify and/or distribute this software in
| both binary and source form, for non-commercial purposes, is hereby
| granted [...]

This is clearly not free/open-source software because of the
non-commercial restriction.

In my understanding, our "as-is" really is what opensource.org lists
as "Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer" [1]. Obviously it's
very permissive (comparable to MIT or BSD-2). It is also included in
our @OSI-APPROVED license group.

So, either we should only mark free software with the as-is label.
Then it might help if the text was clarified as in the patch below.

Or we continue marking random non-free stuff with as-is. Then we
should IMHO remove as-is from our free license groups, create a
licenses/HPND file (text as in [1]), and move the free packages to it.

Currently, 679 packages have as-is in their LICENSE.

Ulrich

[1] <http://opensource.org/licenses/HPND>

--- as-is 12 Jan 2012 19:03:23 -0000 1.3
+++ as-is 23 Sep 2012 09:43:19 -0000
@@ -1,5 +1,5 @@
-This is a generic place holder for a class of licenses that boil down to do
-no guarantees and all you get is what you have. The language is usually
+This is a generic place holder for a class of licenses that allow you to
+do most anything you want with the software. The language is usually
similar to:

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its
@@ -12,13 +12,11 @@
suitability of this software for any purpose. It is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.

-
-You will need to check the license that came with the software for the exact
-specifics. Generally you are free to do most anything you want with "as is"
-software but you should not take this license as legal advice.
+You will need to check the license that came with the software (usually as
+permission notice in the source files themselves) for the exact wording.

Note: Most all license have an "as is" clause. For our purposes this does
-not make all software in this category. This category is for software with
-very little restrictions.
+not make all software in this category. This category is for software that
+complies with the Open Source Definition and has very little restrictions.

The information in this license about licenses is presented "as is". :-P

Rich Freeman 09-23-2012 11:15 AM

Clarify the "as-is" license?
 
On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 6:56 AM, Ulrich Mueller <ulm@gentoo.org> wrote:
> So, either we should only mark free software with the as-is label.
> Then it might help if the text was clarified as in the patch below.
>
> Or we continue marking random non-free stuff with as-is. Then we
> should IMHO remove as-is from our free license groups, create a
> licenses/HPND file (text as in [1]), and move the free packages to it.

Well, I can see legal problems any time you take a thousand things
that all have a bunch of non-identical, informal licenses and treat
them as the same. However, I don't think it is practical to do
otherwise.

How about having an as-is-free and an as-is-nonfree. The easier thing
on maintainers is to make one of those just "as-is," and if we want to
make sure we check them all the better thing is to not do that.
However, making a new as-is-free and treating anything as-is as not
free is probably good enough. I don't think it is wise to do the
reverse, even though that involves the least amount of work.

Rich


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