Re: for discussion: license inclusion guidelines
On Wed, Sep 7, 2022 at 2:17 PM Steve Winslow <swinslow@...> wrote:
In contrast to Debian, Fedora does not have separate
official/project-administered package repositories with different
license inclusion criteria.
Fedora has an explanation here that may be helpful:
To summarize, there are different categories of material to which
different license standards are applied:
- The general "allowed" category -- licenses here are determined by
Fedora to be FOSS through a sort of common law-like approach (Fedora
has no DFSG/FSD/OSD counterpart of its own)
- "Allowed-documentation" -- licenses approved only for documentation.
The intent here is that the licenses are libre, i.e., equivalent in
permissiveness/restrictiveness to software-oriented FOSS licenses,
except that a few licenses (already recognized by SPDX) are treated as
allowed-documentation for historical reasons even though they can't
seriously be considered to meet all the standards of the licenses in
the allowed category
- "Allowed-content" -- licenses approved only for "content" which
basically means something that can't be considered software,
documentation, or fonts. These have to be FOSS except they can
prohibit modification and have a "no patent licenses" provision.
- "Allowed-firmware" -- licenses approved only for binary firmware
files that meet certain technical operating system-related criteria;
these licenses need not be FOSS but only certain kinds of non-FOSS
terms are permitted.
- "Allowed-fonts" -- licenses approved only for fonts. These licenses
must meet the standards for FOSS except that they can have a "Sun RPC"
clause (i.e. a prohibition on resale/distribution in isolation, which
is for some reason commonly found in pseudo-FOSS font licenses). The
main community authorities on FOSS definitional norms (FSF, OSI,
Debian) have all implicitly taken the position that these kinds of
clauses do not preclude a classification of a font license as FOSS,
but to varying degrees and with a large dose of historical
inconsistency have taken the view that they are generally not
acceptable in a FOSS software license. Fedora is simply being more
transparent that there are relaxed community standards for font
licenses in this one respect.
So I think Fedora has made an effort to ensure that the licenses in
the "allowed", "allowed-documentation" and "allowed-fonts" categories
substantially comply with widely-held community open source
definitions. That can't be said of all licenses in the
allowed-content (probably) and allowed-firmware (definitely)
categories. However, I wonder if the fact that these generally
non-FOSS licenses are determined to meet the license criteria of a
distro that is basically conceptualized as a free software community
distro ought to justify the lighter-weight review Jilayne speaks of.