Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] The COPYING file (our license) is a mess!
From: Ulf Lamping <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 10:28:15 +0100
Gerald Combs schrieb:
The patch looks good to me too. Joerg, can you check it in? I'm going to get 0.99.7pre1 out tomorrow.
I've checked in Joergs patch with some minor "wording changes" from me. While it's better than what we currently had before, I'm still *pretty unhappy* with it.
This text still makes it pretty unclear (to the untrained eye), what 
version Wireshark is currently released under, unless you have fully 
read *and understood* the whole text! If you know the background about 
this, the text is pretty easy. But if you have to explain that license 
text to your boss or "license compliance department" (yes, Wireshark is 
used in big companies), you'll will have a hard time to argue.
All in all, this text makes me think that it's more appropriate to let 
people steer away from Wireshark than to use it - which is obviously a 
bad thing (at least to me). We might better keep this text really short 
and crisp and link to the FAQ for licensing details.
Maybe something like: "Wireshark is distributed under the GNU GPLv2. If 
you want to (re-)distribute Wireshark in source or binary form in whole 
or in part, make sure you thoroughly read and understand the following 
GPLv2 text and have a look at the license part of our FAQ at: 
http://www.wireshark.org/faq.html#license";. Followed by the "Most parts 
of  ..." section, followed by the GPL text.

I'm especially unhappy with the tools/pidl part being GPLv3, which is the only part in the Wireshark code base that is incompatible with GPLv2. The first sentence: "Wireshark is distributed under the GNU GPLv2" is therefore a *lie*! The pidl is part of the distribution and it is not GPLv2 and not even compatible with it!
I don't know a good solution to this. Maybe we need to start a seperate 
GPLv3 code repository / distribution where to keep such stuff? Maybe we 
should force our developers to get the pidl on a different way, just as 
we do it with zlib and all the other libraries?

The current license text is a lie IMHO and we really need to do something about it. Maybe the people more closely related to the Samba team (Jörg) have a good idea how to handle this?
Regards, ULFL