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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] Legal CD/DVD/BD writing software for RedHat and Fedora
- From: "Tom \"spot\" Callaway" <tcallawa redhat com>
- To: Joerg Schilling <Joerg Schilling fokus fraunhofer de>
- Cc: fedora-legal-list redhat com
- Subject: Re: [Fedora-legal-list] Legal CD/DVD/BD writing software for RedHat and Fedora
- Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 11:57:46 -0400
On 06/12/2009 02:44 PM, Joerg Schilling wrote:
> I am in hope that RedHat and Fedora will also start to distribute the original
> software again and stop distributing the fork "cdrkit" because it is in
> conflict with the Copyright law  because it is full of well known bugs and
> because it is missing most features, people today expect from such software.
> Missing features are a typical result from decoupling from the main stream
> development. The source in the fork is based on 4 year old sources from
> the original. Note that working on the code from the fork is not an option as
> the initiators rejected to remove the Copyright violations 30 months ago and
> as too many show stopper bugs are unfixed in the fork since more than 24
You seem to have several concerns here. I will again attempt, for the
sake of clarity, to separate them and address them individually.
I) The software "cdrkit" is full of well known bugs, and missing key
This point may or may not be correct, however, the presence of bugs and
the absence of features do not cause any legal concerns, short of
possible warranty issues, but those are thoroughly disclaimed by the
license (GPLv2) on cdrkit:
" 11. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY
FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN
OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES
PROVIDE THE PROGRAM "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED
OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS
TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE
PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING,
REPAIR OR CORRECTION."
II) "...many Linux users have become upset from the results of a
completely unneeded conflict initiated by the non-cooperative
"downstream" package maintainer."
There are 11 open Fedora bugs against cdrkit. None of them reflect this
claim. Nevertheless, even if it was true, it does not reflect a legal or
III) There are no licensing incompatibilities in the current "cdrtools"
This is patently false, and it was the primary reason why Red Hat/Fedora
no longer include the "cdrtools" software. "cdrtools" bundles and
depends upon GPL licensed software components, while the code codebase
of "cdrtools" is under the CDDL license. The CDDL has been reviewed by
multiple organizations, including the FSF and Red Hat Legal, and they
agree in the assessment that dependent combinations of CDDL and GPL code
result in an incompatible work. In addition, there is ample
documentation that this was the intention of the CDDL license authors
(Sun), to prevent code sharing/compatibility with the Linux kernel.
I personally spoke to Simon Phipps on this subject, and he feels that it
may be possible to avoid the CDDL/GPL license compatibility concerns by
using the Sun Studio toolchain rather than GCC. In discussing this
possibility with Red Hat Legal, we disagree with Simon's assessments, so
even if Fedora/Red Hat included the Sun Studio toolchain (we do not
currently do so), we do not agree that its use resolves the licensing
IV) Some of the changes in "cdrkit" introduced Copyright law violations
and even GPL violations.
To date, you have never provided anyone with any evidence of specific
examples of code in "cdrkit" which violates Copyright law or the terms
of the GPL. In our previous private discussions, I repeatedly requested
specific examples, but you were entirely unable or unwilling to present
these. Therefore, I am forced to assume that they do not exist.
So, in summary, you have failed to raise any valid concerns about Red
Hat/Fedora's inclusion of "cdrkit". In addition, the situation which
prevents Red Hat/Fedora from including "cdrtools" remains unchanged.
If you wish to discuss this further, you will need to present either:
1) Specific examples of code in "cdrkit" which is in any way violating
someone's copyright or the terms of its licensing.
2) A version of "cdrtools" which does not contain inherent license
incompatibilities. This could possibly be accomplished by adding some
sort of linking exception for GPL licensed code, or by choosing a
license which is known to be GPL compatible as either a replacement for
the CDDL or a dual-license option. I would recommend that you retain
legal counsel to assist you with this task if you decide to pursue it,
the Software Freedom Law Center provides no-cost assistance to FOSS
coders in such matters (http://www.softwarefreedom.org/).
If and when you present either of these items, we will be happy to
discuss this matter further, either publicly or privately, but
otherwise, we consider the matter closed.
It is also worth noting that we do not need any additional copies of
German Copyright Law (or any Legal Reference Texts) or Lawrence Rosen's
writings, as neither of these things are overly relevant to the
potential concerns surrounding the issues in these situations.
Tom "spot" Callaway, Fedora Legal
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