Licenses and Distribution (WAS Re: XFree-4.4.0)

Kelledin kelledin+BLFS at
Sat Mar 6 11:11:16 PST 2004

On Monday 01 March 2004 08:25 pm, Larry Lawrence wrote:
> I have given this some thought.  A lot more than I usually
> give these political beasts. If an individual is allowed to
> download, compile and use the resulting binary for personal
> use, it is eligible for inclusion in the book.  If individuals
> want to use BLFS for other than personal use, they need to
> learn about licenses.

In this vein, something I've been considering is whether we 
should add a license tag for each package--i.e. in the "Package 
information" section, have a brief note of what license(s) the 
package falls under.

Then, for each separate license, we could link to part of an 
appendix describing the basics of that license, what it allows, 
what it doesn't, etc. as well as where an "official" copy of the 
license can be found.

In particular, the licenses for XFree86, j2sdk, pine, and others 
could use further description, as the legalese is a bit 
brain-twisting for beginners, and the restrictions are pretty 
important for distributors to note.  Whoever maintains a BLFS 
package should probably be at least marginally responsible for 
understanding the license on it.

One problem with this idea, though, is variants like the XviD 
license, which is GPL-with-important-geographic-restrictions.

"If a server crashes in a server farm and no one pings it, does 
it still cost four figures to fix?"

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