Licensing of documentation

Joe Armstrong (AL/EAB) <>
Tue Jun 28 14:26:06 CEST 2005


 
> Hello Joe, Thanks for the clarification.  I was thinking 
> about publishing
> a work derived from the distributed documentation, and 
> licensed under GNU
> GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html or FDL
> http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html; but I understand now 
> that this is
> not possible.

This is not my reading of things - see below

> 
> The Erlang Public License (derived from the Mozilla Public License) is
> incompatible with GNU GPL/FDL according to the Free Software 
> Foundation
> http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#NonFreeSoftwareLicense

   This is very strange to me.

   1) The GNU site says that the Mozilla Public Licence is a free license

   2) The Erlang public license was derived from the Mozilla license - the intention
	was to be less restrictive than the Mozilla License.

   We actually want you to take things in the open source distribution improve them
and distribute them to other people:

The license says this:

--- quote ---
2.2. Contributor Grant.
Each Contributor hereby grants You a world-wide, royalty-free,
non-exclusive license, subject to third party intellectual property
claims:

(a) to use, reproduce, modify, display, perform, sublicense and
    distribute the Modifications created by such Contributor (or
    portions thereof) either on an unmodified basis, with other
    Modifications, as Covered Code or as part of a Larger Work; and 
 
--- end --

NB  " use, reproduce, modify, ... and distribute the modifications ...
as part of a larger work

	pretty clear to me ....

and 

--- quote ---


3.2. Availability of Source Code.
Any Modification which You contribute must be made available in Source
Code form under the terms of this License either on the same media as
an Executable version or via an accepted Electronic Distribution
Mechanism to anyone to whom you made an Executable version available;

--- end ---


NB  " Any modifications which you contribute must be made available ... "

   Rather like the GNU copyleft

So    "publishing a work derived from the distributed doumentation"  is fine 

but   "publishing a work derived from the distributed documentation licensed
 	 under the GNU license" is not since any modifications must include the
       original license.

Since the Erlang license is not restrictive in any way this seems rather strange.

Finally point 10. of the Erlang license:

... shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction
of Swedish courts, with the Stockholm City Court as the first
instance.

Now Sweden is not a litigious country, lawyers do not tout for business here,
and damages when awarded are by international standards extremely low.

Punatative damages and class action cases are almost unheard of.

The reason why Ericsson released Erlang as Open source was to encourage the spread
of the language.

The reason why we re-wrote the Mozilla license was to give you more freedoms than the mozilla license, and the mozilla license itself is viewed as being a free license by
the GNU organisation.

My suggestion would be to do what you propose and publish according to the 
Erlang license. The important thing is contribute new material which can be of benefit to other people and not the legal text at the beginning of a document which nobody reads
anyway.

Cheers

/Joe
 




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