• Geant4 license (again).

    From Stephan Lachnit@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 8 20:00:01 2021
    Well, did anything change WRT the copyright? As far as I understand, this
    can not be included in debian main.

    Alright, let's bring this back to debian-legal. I read all the mails regarding that topic on debian-legal and I don't think there has been any final conclusion.

    Recap for debian-legal readers:
    I'm currently working on packaging Geant4 again. Geant4 has its own license [1],
    which needs to be reviewed. There has been a discussion on whether the license is DFSG compliant or not before [2].
    I recommend reading at least [2] and [3] for the potential problems of the license.

    Starting with clause 4. MJ Ray mentioned that this is "automatic donation to upstream",
    which I don't think is correct. I believe this more like a form of copyleft, which
    also was pointed out on the list later [4]. I think this clause is DFSG compliant.

    Next up clause 5. This is an anti-patent clause and the biggest potential issue.
    The clause maybe collides with "No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor", because you "discriminate" against people that want to patent Geant4. The question
    to answer is, whether this is a valid "field of endeavor". Joe Smith back then said
    "I see no fields of endeavor which require software patents" [5].
    Michael Poole said to this "I think that including open source software in patent
    applications is not defensible as a DFSG#6" [6].
    This was all regarding that. I don't see this question answered, so I would like
    to see an answer on whether this is a problem with the DFSG or not.

    The last potential clause is clause 8. The first part seems fine to me, but the "if you institute litigation" part could be a problem. To be honest I don't know
    enough about law to answer this, but here's my go.
    It could be a violation to DFSG#5, as you discriminate against people who institute
    litigations against the Geant4 collaborators, or even against DFSG#1 in combination
    with DFSG#8 as the license is not valid for you if you have instituted litigations
    against Geant4 collaborators.
    Honestly though, I have no clue if we consider these valid points, as these are pretty much outside of Debian's control.
    I see it more as a disclaimer, which also prevents you from starting certain litigations
    against a copyright holder. But then again, I'm not a legal expert.

    Anyway, I feel the idea of the license has the spirit of an open source license,
    and if it is not DFSG compliant I still want to put it in non-free, since I don't
    see any points that would prevent that.


    [1] https://geant4.web.cern.ch/license/LICENSE.html
    [2] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/07/msg00016.html
    [3] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/07/msg00017.html
    [4] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/07/msg00024.html
    [5] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/07/msg00019.html
    [5] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2006/07/msg00020.html

    PS: for debian-science readers, please answer on debian-legal to have a unified overview of the discussion

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