Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] The COPYING file (our license) is a mess!
From: Joerg Mayer <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 18:35:55 +0100
On Tue, Nov 20, 2007 at 10:28:15AM +0100, Ulf Lamping wrote:
> 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.

Maybe what we actually need are different license files for the source
and the binary distribution. The binary distribution contains less files
(notably pidl) then the source.

> 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.

Is this based on actual experience? Geralds and my motivation is the
experience on the mailing lists - so if you have differing experience -
can you share it please?

> 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.

I abviously think differently.

> 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.

That sounds like a good experience except for the catch I'm mentioning

> 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!

Hmm, is pidl really the only part that's not GPLv2? What about the MIB
files that are part of the Windows installer? What is the exact license
of the manuf file?
Again, we may need to use differnet license files for the binary and the
source packages - maybe even differnet licenses for the Windows binary
and the Unix binaries (which doesn't include the mibs).

> 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?

See my comment above: we already have some stuff with different licenses
inside the source.

> 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?

We might move pidl into the contrib directory (oops, another half
finished project reminder here) but it really looks like the wrong
place: It's a tool that is being used to generate parts of the Wireshark
source. IMO we should just leave it as it is - but if others think
that it is ok to remove it from the source repo and force developers
to retrieve it from the samba repo directly in order to make the
license stuff easier I'd be happy to discuss that ;-)

Joerg Mayer                                           <[email protected]>
We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that
works. Some say that should read Microsoft instead of technology.