Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] The COPYING file (our license) is a mess!
From: Ulf Lamping <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 20:29:20 +0100
Joerg Mayer schrieb:
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.
I guess it will be a bit confusing to have two different licenses - so I would like to avoid this. However, it might be a possible solution, e.g. for what is shown in the Windows installer.
Is this based on actual experience? Geralds and my motivation is the
experience on the mailing lists -
Yes, I remember the repeating mails about "I have written a dissector and I would ..." ;-)
so if you have differing experience -
can you share it please?
My experience is, that installing software on a corporate computer can be tricky, especially when it comes to licenses. You are usually not allowed to install various software on your computer (because of e.g. licensing and security concerns), but need to get permission for every "non standard software" (read: all software that's not on the corporate "permission list").
When you have to ask for permission, it makes a big difference to have a 
complicated license text that includes several "non trivial" sentences, 
compared to the standard "GPLv2 license text" that is probably already 
known by the person who have to decide this.
I know from discussions with employees of other companies, that this is 
a "common procedure".
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?

- pidl is the only GPLv2 *incompatible* part - and that's where my concerns are
- all other files are compatible with the GPLv2
What about the MIB
files that are part of the Windows installer?
AFAIK, they are copied over from the net-snmp package, which is a collection of BSD style licenses. Maybe there's an agreement to use the mibs that I just don't know (if there is, we should mention it in the authors file).
What is the exact license
of the manuf file?
Don't know. So: If we have other parts that are not compatible with the GPLv2, we have the same problems here. And that points should also be resolved!
When I added the port resolving file (/etc/)services, I first asked the 
IANA for permission. Obviously, I can't say what others have done.
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 ;-)
To be honest, I don't know a good solution (otherwise, I would already have mentioned it ;-)
The current mix of GPLv2 and GPLv3 code in our repository leaves a real 
bad taste in my mouth and the licensing issues you've mentioned needs 
obviously to be solved as well.
The more I'll look over the current Wireshark license situation, the 
less I really like it ...
Regards, ULFL