(obsolete) Licensing Discussion in 2004
Last updated at 9:30 pm UTC on 22 March 2017
Very obsolete; the Squeak licensing 'issue' was solved and Squeak is not properly accepted as open source and is a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy
My summary of the issues brought up at the beginning of 2004. So that I could understand it better, I broke it up into major themes. I've also edited for readiblity.
The following miscellaneous issue also fell out.
Flavors of Licenses
One argument in favor of SqueakL over BSD or MIT
From: Cees de Groot Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 3:52 AM
John Pfersich [had stated that “The MIT and BSD licenses has been around a lot longer than the Squeak License. For the most part, Squeak License is similar to these, except for the font part.”
No, there is a (IMHO) very important extra bit, which is the requirement
that changes to the 'core' have to be published. I think that this is a very sensible thing for Squeak, and, again IMHO, makes SqueakL (apart from the warts) more appropriate than MIT/BSD.
[Later someone, challenges the real value of this clause at least in part because of its enforceability.]
GPL does not work for Squeak
From: Andrew C. Greenberg Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 7:39 AM
Or, in the alternative, we turn to [Source Forge] and explain the fundamental difficulties of applying a GPL license to a monolithic image.
From: Daniel Vainsencher Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 10:54 AM
Please refrain from mentioning the GPL unless you think it has any advantages. Nobody on the list, nor as far as we know sourceforge, debian or OSI requires, suggests or even thinks it is a good idea to use the GPL in this case. Any DFSG compliant license would be a good thing, and the MIT license (or some such) is not difficult to apply to Squeak-style code. As you well know, the only thing is that it just happens not to be licensed under any such license.
Disney ownership asserted
From: Lex Spoon Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 3:32 PM
Why [shouldn’t we expect to be able to deal with Disney]? Here's Alan's take on that situation:
Alan Kay on the Squeak License
It's not clear that we need a statement from Disney, and it's also not clear that they'd be unwilling to give it. Companies love to be seen as benefactors of the community.
From: Cees de Groot Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 7:24 AM
[Lex Spoon referenced] http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/squeak-dev/2003-August/065042.html
Alan is under the impression that Disney doesn't own any part of Squeak, and that's simply wrong. Until I have seen a signed letter by Disney that they have put any of their contributions in the public domain (it is actually hard to put stuff into the public domain, by default you have a copyright on any creative works you happen to create), they own everything that SqC has done.
If they own something, and I am using it, somehow there must be a contract or license agreement. As there clearly is not a contract, there must be some license agreement. And as the only license I'm allowed to use Squeak under, as far as I am aware, is the SqueakL, I must therefore assume that Disney (and all the other contributors) somehow have licensed their property to me under the terms of the SqueakL.
From: goran krampe Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2004 10:22 AM
I still haven't gotten a clear answer regarding if they own large parts of Squeak or not. Alan vaguely says they don't, but recalling the thread on this from a while back (which you participated in IIRC) it seems obvious they should do since the authors where employed there at the time. And hey, what do you know - it even says so in Squeak itself:
"Portions of Squeak are:
Copyright (c) 1996 Apple Computer, Inc.
Copyright (c) 1997-2001 Walt Disney Company, and/or
Copyrighted works of other contributors.
All rights reserved."
IMHO deciding if it is worth to do the work involved [relicensing] depends heavily on at least getting the Disney question somewhat resolved.
Code Licensed under MIT only
From: Doug Way Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 5:05 PM
P.S. We (the Guides) did decide to allow MIT-only licensed code to be part of the base Squeak release, if there are no alternatives. This was for the SmaCC compiler which is licensed only under MIT, and has been added to 3.7alpha (and tracked via SqueakMap). So we have consciously broken the rule for avoiding a "multiply-Licensed Squeak release" to some extent, but this will likely be the only other license allowed in the release.
From: Andrew C. Greenberg Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 7:33 PM
[Regarding the recent inclusion of some MIT-only licensed code to be part of the base Squeak release] Once again, there is still time to stop and save the project. I commend that to you. In the long haul, it WILL kill Squeak or make it impossible for us to improve the present licensing issues. In the old days when I advised SqC regularly on this, I frequently negotiated appropriate licensing concessions with most such projects.
From: goran krampe Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2004 10:22 AM
Lately we agreed to also let MIT code into the base image, mostly in order to be able to include SmaCC because John couldn't see what it meant for him to put his code under Squeak-L and I surely can't blame him. At the time I was the one screaming the loudest regarding the license issue, so anyone on this list can tell you that I am very aware of the licensing dangers here. IIRC you [Andrew] didn't post on that subject. But we agreed that letting MIT code in (and keeping track of it) was ok since it is such a simple license and since it allows sublicensing which means some other party (correct me if I am wrong) could sublicense it under Squeak-L if needed.
Note that the current dual licensing situation is not quite as dire as Andrew's message above implies... the MIT-licensed SmaCC code was developed outside of Squeak. See the rest of the (obsolete) Dual Licensing discussion for further details.
Great of you to post this, Tom! Feel free to roll it into the main Squeak-L page at some point; this is a Swiki after all, and you have as much a right to edit it as anyone! -Lex Spoon