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Re: IETF Last Call for two IPR WG Dcouments

2008-03-30 23:15:16
Simon Josefsson skrev:
Regarding -outbound section 4.3:

   IETF contributions often include components intended to be directly
   processed by a computer.  Examples of these include ABNF definitions,
   XML Schemas, XML DTDs, XML RelaxNG definitions, tables of values,
   MIBs, ASN.1, or classical programming code.  These are included in
   IETF contributions for clarity and precision in specification.  It is
   clearly beneficial, when such items are included in IETF
   contributions, to permit the inclusion of such code components in
   products which implement the contribution.  It has been pointed out
   that in several important contexts use of such code requires the
   ability to modify the code.  One common example of this is simply the
   need to adapt code for use in specific contexts (languages,
   compilers, tool systems, etc.)  Such use frequently requires some
   changes to the text of the code from the IETF contribution.  Another
   example is that code included in open source products is frequently
   licensed to permit any and all of the code to be modified.  Since we
   want this code included in such products, it follows that we need to
   permit such modification.  While there has been discussion of
   restricting the rights to make such modifications in some way, the
   rough consensus of the IETF is that such restrictions are likely a
   bad idea, and are certainly very complex to define.

   As such, the rough consensus is that the IETF Trust is to grant
   rights such that code components of IETF contributions can be
   extracted, modified, and used by anyone in any way desired.  To
   enable the broadest possible extraction, modification and usage, the
   IETF Trust should avoid adding software license obligations beyond
   those already present in a contribution.  The granted rights to
   extract, modify and use code should allow creation of derived works
   outside the IETF that may carry additional license obligations.

I believe the intention here is good, but it leaves the IETF Trust with
no guidelines on how to write the license declaration that is likely to
work well in practice with actual products.  There are no reference to
what "open source" means in this context, and references to "free
software" is missing.

I believe it would be a complete failure if code-like portions of RFCs
cannot be included into open source and free software products such as
the Debian project.

To give the Trust something concrete to work with I propose to add the

  To make sure the granted rights are usable in practice, they need to
  at least meet the requirements of the Open Source Definition [OSD],
  the Free Software Definition [FSD], and the Debian Free Software
  Guidelines [DFSG].

For those who fear that this will lead to complexity: releasing
something that is compatible with those requirements is simple.  The
modified BSD license meets those requirements, as does a number of other
methods, including releasing the work into the public domain.

The references being:

[OSD] "The Open Source Definition",

[FSD] "The Free Software Definition",

[DFSG] "The Debian Free Software Guidelines",

This has been considered in the WG and rejected, I believe - it was felt 
inappropriate to tie the IETF definitions to other organizations' 
definitions. In particular, it was felt inappropriate to do anything 
that might be interpreted as permitting copyleft requirements to be 
placed on source code from IETF documents.

If the Trust is able to achieve compatibility, I'm all for it.


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