[Python-Dev] LICENSE file in Python 2.0c1

M.-A. Lemburg mal@lemburg.com
Tue, 10 Oct 2000 16:03:14 +0200

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> > I've just had a glance at the releas candidate 1. The file LICENSE
> > has grown somewhat, but not as much as I feared...
> Since when?  It hasn't changed since it was first released, for 2.0b1.

Since the old 1.5.2 LICENSE file.
> > looking
> > at the contents I find the following as only reference to the
> > CNRI license (which holds all the surprises we talked about in
> > the early beta stages):
> >
> > """
> > ----------------------------------
> >
> > Python 1.6 is made available subject to the terms and conditions in
> > CNRI's License Agreement.  This Agreement together with Python 1.6 may
> > be located on the Internet using the following unique, persistent
> > identifier (known as a handle): 1895.22/1012.  This Agreement may also
> > be obtained from a proxy server on the Internet using the following
> > URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1895.22/1012.
> > """
> >
> > Such a note is nice and short, but not legally binding and
> > confusing since it is not clear whether the "handle" for the
> > document will always return the same license text or if it
> > will return a license text at all.
> Why do you say it's not legally binding?  The CNRI license explicitly
> allows you to use this exact text instead of including the whole CNRI
> license.

Sure, but not including the verbatim text will produce an
unpleasent feeling of not being sure about the completeness
of the license text.


In a law suit the above construct would
certainly not hold, since URLs only describe the location of
information and don't hold any information about the validity
or origin of it. The situation would be a little better if CNRI
had provided a PGP signature or fingerprint of the license,
since this is (in some countries) a legally accepted way of
determining those two criteria.

Just a side note: the URL given for the license results in a 
redirect to a different URL -
(note the date !): this doesn't really give the impression of
persistent unchangeable information.


Not that there's much to fear about... but why add any extra areas
of uncertainty ?

> > It would be more appropriate to include the original CNRI license
> > text, IMHO. Or is there some hidden motivation behind using the
> > handle ?
> I was just trying to save space.  ActivePython does the same thing as
> far as I remember.

Space?... the download is 3.9 Megs ;-)
> BTW, I haven't heard from CNRI in two weeks, but the last thing I
> heard from them was that their lawyers had talked to Stallman's lawyer
> and that they were optimistic about a successful resolution.

Great ! This would be really good news indeed :-)

Marc-Andre Lemburg
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