Re: Answer of Request to AdaCore on licensing Status of GtkAda 2.4.0



The answers I have managed to get from Adacore are quite different from
what Ludovic and Markus have reported. These answers are far from crystal
clear, but the best way I can interpret them is as follows:

· There is *not* a policy that license statements in files headers and
readme files shouldn't be believed.
· Their licensing policy hasn't changed in any significant way. (Yeah
right!)
· They think all the license statements in the packages accurately reflect
the license you get.
· When you download the libraries bundled with Gnat GPL, you get a pure
GPL for the whole bundle.
· As for what license you get when you download a library separately: No
comment.

When there are contradicting claims, I'll go for the one that is closest
to the source. That means I'll stick to the license that is stated in each
piece of code, as downloaded directly from Libre (for packages whose
copyright belongs to Adacore). It's not that I think Ludovic or Markus is
lying, but anything posted here by a third party is technically a rumor
(including this post).

So it seems that for most of the libraries I get a pure GPL if I download
a tarball, but GMGPL if I download it from CVS. As there are contradictions
in some tarballs it may be safest to go for CVS; the license statements
seem to be more consistent there.

Here's my email exchange with Adacore:



From: Björn Persson
To: libre
Subject: How can I find out what license I have recieved?
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 23:43:03 +0200

As I'm sure you know, Adacore's license practice has caused a lot of
discussion in comp.lang.ada recently. Representatives of Adacore have been
quoted as saying that one should not believe the license statements in
software packages downloaded from your website. There have been claims that
it is your position that the only way to find out the license is to ask you
directly, but I can't really believe that you want to answer an email each
and every time someone downloads a file. There is also the problem that
people aren't aware of this policy. Apparently hardly anyone in comp.lang.ada
knew about it until a few days ago, and I'm sure there are lots of people who
don't read comp.lang.ada regularly and still believe that the licenses you
publish are actually the licenses you provide. There must be a better way to
communicate your licenses.

I ask you to publish an official declaration where you state which license
statements should be trusted and which ones should not be trusted. It should
not only cover the current situation but also describe how to know what
license was used at any particular time in the past. I and lots of other
people have software that we have downloaded from your server at various
points in time, and we have believed the license statements that were
included in the packages we dowloaded. We need some way of finding out what
license we really recieved for which package at the time.

Then there's of course one problem: If some things you publish are not meant
to be believed, why should we believe the declaration where you tell us what
to believe and what not to believe? But the approach with direct questions
has exactly the same problem: Why should we believe what you say in emails or
on the phone if we shouldn't believe your website? One thing you could do to
show that this particular declaration should really be trusted is to sign it
with PGP. Putting it on an HTTPS server could also raise the trust level
somewhat.

Regards,
Björn Persson



From: Cyrille Comar
Organization: AdaCore
To: Björn Persson
CC: libre
Subject: Re: How can I find out what license I have recieved?
Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2006 02:30:23 +0200

Björn Persson wrote:

Hello Bjorn,

> As I'm sure you know, Adacore's license practice has caused a lot of
> discussion in comp.lang.ada recently.

Yes, it seems that there is a lot of confusion on c.l.a. It is not the
first time and most probably not the last one either ;-)

> Representatives of Adacore have been
> quoted as saying that one should not believe the license statements in
> software packages downloaded from your website. There have been claims that
> it is your position that the only way to find out the license is to ask you
> directly, but I can't really believe that you want to answer an email each
> and every time someone downloads a file.

People are allowed to say whatever they like on c.l.a, nothing we can do
about this. That may have been a reference to a discussion about the
legal value of copyright statements appearing at the top of source files
that you download over internet in general. I am not a lawyer, not
even an expert myself so I won't make any comment on that specific issue
but there is nothing specific nor different about the libre site in that
respect.

> There is also the problem that people aren't aware of this policy.

There is no such policy. We believe the libre site is and has always
been very clear on its intended public (the free-software Ada developers
community) and that the packages available for download contain the
proper GPL statements in the format advised by the FSF. If it is not the
case, please let us know, this is most probably an error and we will be
happy to fix it.

May I ask you to review the main page of the libre site and in
particular the section called "Which version of GNAT is right for you?"
and let me know if it leaves any room for uncertainty?

Very Sincerely,

Cyrille



From: Björn Persson
To: Cyrille Comar
Cc: libre
Subject: Re: How can I find out what license I have recieved?
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 16:59:38 +0200

Cyrille Comar wrote:

> Yes, it seems that there is a lot of confusion on c.l.a. It is not the
> first time and most probably not the last one either ;-)

I could mention several things Adacore could have done to reduce the
confusion – or FUD, as some people would call it.

> People are allowed to say whatever they like on c.l.a, nothing we can do
> about this.

Of course you can: If false statements are posted you can reply with
corrections. It should be in your company's interest to stop misconceptions
from spreading.

> That may have been a reference to a discussion about the
> legal value of copyright statements appearing at the top of source files
> that you download over internet in general. I am not a lawyer, not
> even an expert myself so I won't make any comment on that specific issue
> but there is nothing specific nor different about the libre site in that
> respect.
>
> > There is also the problem that people aren't aware of this policy.
>
> There is no such policy.

So you mean we should indeed believe the license statements in file headers
and readme files in software downloaded directly from the Libre site? Both
what we download now and what we have downloaded in the past?

Ludovic Brenta has reported that Robert Dewar and Arnaud Charlet have told him
that all software downloaded from AdaCore is pure GPL, no matter what the
headers say. Are you implying that's false?

> We believe the libre site is and has always
> been very clear on its intended public (the free-software Ada developers
> community) and that the packages available for download contain the
> proper GPL statements in the format advised by the FSF. If it is not the
> case, please let us know, this is most probably an error and we will be
> happy to fix it.
>
> May I ask you to review the main page of the libre site and in
> particular the section called "Which version of GNAT is right for you?"
> and let me know if it leaves any room for uncertainty?

OK, now that I've figured out how to get through the broken firewall I've had
another look. https://libre2.adacore.com/dynamic/gnat_faq.html makes the
licenses of the different editions of Gnat very clear, but it says nothing
about the licenses of ASIS, GTKada, AWS, XML/Ada, GLADE, PolyORB, Aunit or
Florist. The only license statements I have found for those libraries are in
the file headers and readme files, and there are several contradictions
there:

First there's the discrepancy between CVS and the tarballs. When I browse the
CVS repository, AWS, GLADE, GTKada, PolyORB and XML/Ada all have the linking
exception of the GMGPL in the file headers (or at least large parts of them
have it), but in the tarballs the linking exception has been removed from
most files. Apparently I get the GMGPL if I check the code out from CVS, but
if I download tarballs I get the pure GPL – although with some of the
tarballs the situation is murky, as detailed below. Ludovic Brenta says
Robert Dewar and Arnaud Charlet say that code downloaded from the CVS server
is pure GPL. Should I believe Ludovic or should I believe the file headers?
I'm doing neither; I'm asking Adacore: What is the license?

Then there are contradictions within some of the tarballs too:

AWS-gpl-2.2.0/readme.txt and xmlada-gpl-2.2.0/README say AWS and XML/Ada are
distributed under the GMGPL, and AWS-gpl-2.2.0/include/readme.txt lists the
licenses of several components as GMGPL, but in all these cases – except for
two Java files in AWS – the linking exception of the GMGPL has been removed
from the file headers, so that the headers say the license is pure GPL. How
do I know which license is right?

The linking exception has been removed from all the file headers of PolyORB
except for one C file, but the README, INSTALL, NEWS and FEATURES files
contain the linking exception with a wording as if those files were
themselves source code. I don't know whether that means the exception applies
to all of PolyORB or what else "this unit" means in those files.

Additionally, the documentation for AWS and PolyORB contains a whole lot of
source code that has the linking exception, even though it's missing from the
corresponding files in the "src" subdirectories. Again, how do I know which
license is right?

Besides, there is no copy of the GPL to be found in the ASIS or AWS packages,
even though the file headers say I should have recieved one.

Björn Persson



From: Cyrille Comar
Organization: AdaCore
To: Björn Persson
CC: libre
Subject: Re: How can I find out what license I have recieved?
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 17:42:36 +0200

Björn Persson wrote:
>> People are allowed to say whatever they like on c.l.a, nothing we can do
>> about this.
>
> Of course you can: If false statements are posted you can reply with
> corrections.

Probably... although doing this consistently would require huge
resources. We prefer to devote our resources to make the technology
progress.

> Ludovic Brenta has reported that Robert Dewar and Arnaud Charlet have told him
> that all software downloaded from AdaCore is pure GPL, no matter what the
> headers say. Are you implying that's false?

I am not implying anything. I am just stating that our policy has not
changed in any significant way: the Libre site has always been dedicated
to Free software developers and has always been advertised this way very
clearly. It has always been AdaCore's position that anything coming from
the libre site was not suitable for non-Libre development. This is why
the site was named that way and why the landing page takes some real
estate for explaining this. We will consider clarifying yet more.

>> May I ask you to review the main page of the libre site and in
>> particular the section called "Which version of GNAT is right for you?"
>> and let me know if it leaves any room for uncertainty?
>
> OK, now that I've figured out how to get through the broken firewall I've had
> another look. https://libre2.adacore.com/dynamic/gnat_faq.html makes the
> licenses of the different editions of Gnat very clear, but it says nothing
> about the licenses of ASIS, GTKada, AWS, XML/Ada, GLADE, PolyORB, Aunit or
> Florist.

Well, all those packages are distributed as part of a GNAT edition. This
is in the context of those editions that we provide explicit license
statements.

> Besides, there is no copy of the GPL to be found in the ASIS or AWS packages,
> even though the file headers say I should have recieved one.

Ok, this is helpful, we will fix those packages.
Thank you for your feedback,

Cyrille



--
Björn Persson PGP key A88682FD
omb jor ers @sv ge.
r o.b n.p son eri nu
.