On Wed, Feb 03, 2010 at 01:53:44PM -0500, Steve Grubb wrote:
On Wednesday 03 February 2010 11:44:51 am Richard Fontana wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 03, 2010 at 11:28:39AM -0500, Steve Grubb wrote:
> > Hello,
> > We were doing a license review of the aide package and found that its
> > shipping a file that is released under the Frontier Artistic License:
> > http://www.spinwardstars.com/frontier/fal.html
> > Is this license acceptable to Fedora? (I couldn't find mention of it on
> > the Licensing wiki page.)
> No, I discussed this with Spot in a different context a year ago, and
> the conclusion was that the Frontier Artistic License was not
> acceptable for Fedora, given the non-acceptability of the Artistic
> License 1.0.
OK, all linux distributions are shipping this package. I found that Debian had
discussed this too and they accepted it. So, if we object to it, then I need
to do some work upstream to fix this. What should I tell them is the basis for
us not allowing it when other accept it? I'm not opposed to your
recommendation, I just want to be able to state out position, that's all.
Sure, in Spot's temporary absence I will give it a try.
Fedora's general policy, ignoring certain special cases, is to
distribute software only under free software licenses. In determining
what is "free", Fedora seeks to apply the FSF's Free Software
Definition and looks to documented FSF policy (where it exists) as the
main source of persuasive external authority. Decisions by other
distros that rigorously adopt a similar policy (particularly Debian),
as well as license approvals/disapprovals by the OSI, are viewed with
respect and may be helpful, but are not treated as similarly
authoritative. Fedora is especially reluctant to adopt a specific
position on a license's freeness/non-freeness that differs from that
of the FSF.
The Free Software Foundation has, for well over ten years I believe,
publicly classified the Artistic License 1.0 as non-free. We
believe that there is a sound basis for the FSF's opinion; among other
things it stands for the important general principle that, at some
point, licenses may be too vague or confusing to be considered free, a
principle we have applied in reviewing other licenses. This view
applies equally to the Frontier Artistic License, which is based
closely on the Artistic License 1.0 and contains most if not all of
the features that originally troubled the FSF. Fedora has, as I
understand it, acted on this policy by pulling Artistic 1.0-licensed
Perl packages not dual-licensed under the GPL or available under
 Indeed, several OSI-approved licenses are on the Fedora "bad
license" list, while at least one OSI-disapproved license has been
approved for Fedora.
 I am aware of one case where the FSF judged a license to be free
after (in the absence of guidance from the FSF) we decided it was
nonfree; we have not altered our decision, but the issue is moot
because the licensor revised the license to cure the deficiency.
 If my understanding of the history is correct, the acceptability
of the Artistic License 1.0 was grandfathered into the Debian Free
Software Guidelines and implicitly into the Open Source Definition,
despite known concerns about the license.