Wireshark-dev: [Wireshark-dev] The COPYING file (our license) is a mess!
From: Ulf Lamping <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 22:25:18 +0100
Hi List!

While i was updating the NSIS installer, I had a look at the current COPYING file and was pretty sad reading the following preamble to the GPL:
> Wireshark is distributed under the GNU GPL.  There are no restrictions
> on its use.  There are significant restrictions on its distribution.

This fact should be obviously by anyone knowing the GPL (and anyone still don't know won't care) so why repeating it? Are there any restrictions beyond the usual GPL conditions?
> Most parts of Wireshark are covered by a "GPL version 2 or later" 
> Some files are covered by different licenses that are compatible with
> the GPLv2.

What does this mean? Spread FUD?

> As a notable exception the pidl utility at tools/pidl is covered by a
> "GPL version 3 or later" LICENSE. Note that only the tool itself
> is covered by this license, not the source code generated by it. The
> pidl authors do not consider that code a derived work of pidl.

Who should understand this?!?

> Parts of Wireshark can be built and distributed as libraries.  These
> parts are still covered by the GPL, and NOT by the Lesser General Public
> License or any other license.

Again, anyone who cares will be pretty much knowing it from the GPL - no need to repeat the license here.
> If you create a combined work using all or part of Wireshark, then your
> combined work must be released under a license compatible with the GPL.

That's just plain *wrong*. In addition what the author might had in mind, a combined work could be almost anything! From pressing it on a CD to make it available on a web collection. All this collection needs to be compatible with the GPL? I don't think so!
> ...and don't get us started on trademarks.

What does this mean? Spread FUD?

Unfortunately, this text spreads a lot FUD and it is redundant.

IMHO, the GPLv2 is well understood today and needs no further explanations. IMHO instead of clarifying stuff, it makes understanding the License much more complicated to anyone outside the project.
All in all, IMO this license text drives away anyone who takes licensing 
seriously and anyone who don't cares won't be addressed. So what is the 
benefit in complicating the GPL here?
Regards, ULFL