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Re: "Adobe Open Source License" GPL compatible?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: "Adobe Open Source License" GPL compatible?
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 18:27:01 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Mike Linksvayer <> writes:

> Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>   >>So, my question is in the subject line.
>> My answer is below it. As far as the GPL is concerned, everything is
>> compatible with it. It might not be so under jursidiction of the GNU
>> Republic (where only Mr President Stallman knows and rules
>> what is "compatible"), but who cares?
> In this case, I do.  Anyone from outside the Terekhov Republic, my
> question stands.  Restated:
> May code licensed with
> be
> incorporated into a GPL'd codebase?

It says:

    You may not modify the Documentation.

This is not compatible with the GPL as long as the documentation can't
be considered "aggregated" which for technical documentation would
seem absurd.

On the other hand, the GNU project itself distributes packagings with
GFDLed documentation, the GFDL is not GPL-compatible, so they would
have a hard stand protesting against just this clause alone, when
their own practice suggests that aggregation in that manner is ok.  If
it weren't, redistribution of, say, Emacs would not be permissible.

Then we have:

    If you choose to distribute the Software in a commercial product,
    you do so with the understanding that you agree to defend,
    indemnify and hold harmless Adobe against any losses, damages and
    costs arising from the claims, lawsuits or other legal actions
    arising out of such distribution.

Indemnification _could_ be construed as an added restriction.

Then we have

    You may distribute the Software 
    in object code form under your own license, provided that your license 

    (a) complies with the terms and conditions of this license


    (b) effectively disclaims all warranties and conditions, express
    or implied, on behalf of Adobe;

The GPL disclaims all warrantied.

    (c) effectively excludes all liability for damages on behalf of

To the extent where this is permissible by law.

    (d) states that any provisions that differ from this Agreement are
    offered by you alone and not Adobe; and

Since changes have to be marked as such, I think this should be possible.

    (e) states that the Software is available from you or Adobe and
    informs licensees how to obtain it in a reasonable manner on or
    through a medium customarily used for software exchange.

This seems to work with the GPL more or less.

Then we also have:

    1.  LICENSE GRANTSubject to the terms of this Agreement, Adobe
    hereby grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free license
    to use, reproduce, prepare derivative works from, publicly
    display, publicly perform, distribute and sublicense the Software
    for any purpose, provided the copyright notice below appears in a
    conspicuous location within the source code of the distributed
    Software and this license is distributed in the supporting
    documentation of the Software you distribute.

This does not seem entirely GPL-compatible.  It is a minor point,

I'd recommend that you ask the copyright clerk at the FSF, as well as
Adobe about whether this jibes.  And with the combined info from them,
you ask the most important copyright holders from the GPLed product
you are talking about.

In the end, getting the stuff straight from the horse's mouth, namely
the copyright holders themselves, is what counts for keeping you out
of the courts.  And the legal experts of the FSF might tell you about
what could happen if you end up in court after all.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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