The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

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The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Florian Weimer
Motif has since been released under the LGPL, so this is largely
of historic interest.

Was the license of OpenMotif ever submitted to OSI?

  <http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/license/>

Debian clearly considered it non-DFSG-compliant, but I can't find a
discussion why this was the case.

In the FAQ, the Open Group wrote:

| QUESTION:
|
| Does the Open Group Public License for Motif meet the Open Source
| Guidelines?
|
| ANSWER:
|
| No. The Open Group Public License for Motif grants rights only to
| use the software on or with operating systems that are themselves
| Open Source programs. In restricting the applicability of the
| license to Open Source platforms this does not meet term 8 of the
| Open Software Definition (http://www.opensource.org/osd.html).

<http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/faq.html>

I find this surprising.  The license is not worded in such a way that
it is specific to a particular distribution: any free software
distribution will do.  The license doesn't even require that the
software linked with OpenMotif is free software.  It's true that their
definition of “Open Source” does not match OSI's, but as theirs is
more encompassing (to the degree that it misses the point), that's not
an issue at all.

I'm also puzzled why both Debian and Fedora rejected the license (but
Debian did consider it suitable for non-free).  For Fedora, I found
this:

<https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-advisory-board/2006-August/msg00261.html>

But it's just a reference ot the FAQ, and then the answer is merely
rephrased:

<https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-advisory-board/2006-August/msg00305.html>

The FSF list does not mention the license under either name.  Richard
Stallman wrote about the license here:

  <https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/motif.html>

It's not very illuminating, unfortunately.  This is the most relevant
part:

| The license is restricted to use on certain operating systems, those
| which fit a category they call “open source”. Both the free software
| movement and the open source camp consider use restrictions
| unacceptable.

I assume that I myself at the time thought this restriction as overly
burdensome, but I don't think I would do so today, especially since
the license does not require that *all* software on a computer needs
to be open source.  In fact, it looks fairly liberal to me.  However,
when OpenMotif came out, many systems still used proprietary SSH and
the Netscape browser, so perhaps the OpenMotif license was thought to
be too corrosive back then.  (But that was a non-issue when Fedora
removed OpenMotif from the distribution many years later.)

Fedora says “Commercial use restrictions” under
<https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing:Main#Bad_Licenses>,
but the reason for that remains unclear to me.  It looks like a
confusion of proprietary vs commercial licensing.

Any ideas why it's so clear-cut that this license violates the DFSG or
the OSD?  Do you still think it does?

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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Adam Jackson
On Thu, 2018-10-25 at 22:56 +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:

> Motif has since been released under the LGPL, so this is largely
> of historic interest.
>
> Was the license of OpenMotif ever submitted to OSI?
>
>   <http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/license/>
>
> Debian clearly considered it non-DFSG-compliant, but I can't find a
> discussion why this was the case.
>
> In the FAQ, the Open Group wrote:
>
> > QUESTION:
> >
> > Does the Open Group Public License for Motif meet the Open Source
> > Guidelines?
> >
> > ANSWER:
> >
> > No. The Open Group Public License for Motif grants rights only to
> > use the software on or with operating systems that are themselves
> > Open Source programs. In restricting the applicability of the
> > license to Open Source platforms this does not meet term 8 of the
> > Open Software Definition (http://www.opensource.org/osd.html).
>
> <http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/faq.html>
>
> I find this surprising.  The license is not worded in such a way that
> it is specific to a particular distribution: any free software
> distribution will do.

If I had to guess...

DFSG#9: License Must Not Contaminate Other Software

"The license must not place restrictions on other software that is
distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license
must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium
must be free software."

We can argue about what "distribute" means here, I suppose. Also #8:
"all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same
rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian
system". So if it's not as free everywhere as it would be in Debian,
it's not free enough for Debian.

- ajax

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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] Re: The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Tom Callaway
On 10/26/2018 11:32 AM, Adam Jackson wrote:
>  So if it's not as free everywhere as it would be in Debian,
> it's not free enough for Debian.

It has never happened that I know of, but if there were a copyright
license which was somehow okay only in Fedora (but not for anyone
downstream of us), we would not consider it acceptable either.

~tom

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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Florian Weimer
In reply to this post by Adam Jackson
* Adam Jackson:

> On Thu, 2018-10-25 at 22:56 +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
>> Motif has since been released under the LGPL, so this is largely
>> of historic interest.
>>
>> Was the license of OpenMotif ever submitted to OSI?
>>
>>   <http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/license/>
>>
>> Debian clearly considered it non-DFSG-compliant, but I can't find a
>> discussion why this was the case.
>>
>> In the FAQ, the Open Group wrote:
>>
>> > QUESTION:
>> >
>> > Does the Open Group Public License for Motif meet the Open Source
>> > Guidelines?
>> >
>> > ANSWER:
>> >
>> > No. The Open Group Public License for Motif grants rights only to
>> > use the software on or with operating systems that are themselves
>> > Open Source programs. In restricting the applicability of the
>> > license to Open Source platforms this does not meet term 8 of the
>> > Open Software Definition (http://www.opensource.org/osd.html).
>>
>> <http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/faq.html>
>>
>> I find this surprising.  The license is not worded in such a way that
>> it is specific to a particular distribution: any free software
>> distribution will do.
>
> If I had to guess...
>
> DFSG#9: License Must Not Contaminate Other Software
>
> "The license must not place restrictions on other software that is
> distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license
> must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium
> must be free software."

But Debian distributes OpenMotif under this license, next to non-free
software for which sources are not available.  So clearly DFSG#9 did
not apply in Debian's view, otherwise OpenMotif would be
undistributable (then and now).

> We can argue about what "distribute" means here, I suppose. Also #8:
> "all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same
> rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian
> system". So if it's not as free everywhere as it would be in Debian,
> it's not free enough for Debian.

So what I find particularly puzzling is that this license is a bit
like the GPL (version 2) without a system library exception, and at
least Debian pretended that the system library exception was not an
option for the distribution.  (According to that analysis it's only
something prioprietary operating systems coudl exercise historically,
due to the clearly separate vendors and distribution channels.)

Is it necessary that an open source license must allow porting to
proprietary systems?  I don't think so today.  But based on what I
found out about the OpenMotif license, people actually thought that
back then.  This surprises me.  Has this changed?

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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] Re: The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Yaakov Selkowitz
On Fri, 2018-10-26 at 21:29 +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> Is it necessary that an open source license must allow porting to
> proprietary systems?  I don't think so today.  But based on what I
> found out about the OpenMotif license, people actually thought that
> back then.  This surprises me.  Has this changed?

IMO it is a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the OSD.
For instance, that license forbade us from even using, much less
distributing, OpenMotif on Cygwin (which, as a *NIX/X11 platform,
wouldn't require much actual porting) -- which, while itself Free
Software, was built on a proprietary kernel (Windows), which this
license explicitly called out as the definition of the OS.  The same
would apply to proprietary *NIXs, leaving the far-from-perfect lesstif
as the only viable option for us and them.  Shouldn't this have been
considered a restriction against persons/groups (users of such systems)
or fields of endeavour (use on such systems)?

--
Yaakov Selkowitz
Senior Software Engineer - Platform Enablement
Red Hat, Inc.


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Re: [Fedora-legal-list] The license of OpenMotif (Open Group Public License)

Paul Wise via nm
In reply to this post by Florian Weimer
On Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 3:36 AM Florian Weimer wrote:

> Is it necessary that an open source license must allow porting to
> proprietary systems?  I don't think so today.  But based on what I
> found out about the OpenMotif license, people actually thought that
> back then.  This surprises me.  Has this changed?

If I am stuck on a proprietary platform because the available libre
platforms do not support my hardware (or for other reasons), I don't
think it is appropriate to disconnect me from the FLOSS world and
force me to only use proprietary software on top of the proprietary
platform. That would only *reduce* the amount of software freedom in
the universe, not increase it. As I understand it, the system library
exception is a way to work around the license incompatibility between
copyleft projects and the proprietary platforms they might be able to
run on, in order to *increase* the places Free Software can be used.

--
bye,
pabs

https://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise