Re: Licensing Workshop at LinuxTag 2011

Joerg Schilling <Joerg.Schilling@...>

Ciaran Farrell <cfarrell@...> wrote:

before LinuxTag 2011 I sent around invitations to this workshop "Cross
Distribution Licensing Summit": (

Some of you indicated that you would not be able to make it. As it turned out
there was not a huge variety of distributions present there, but I think that
the discussion that we had was nonetheless quite enlightening.

Currently, one example of an online collaborative effort (under the auspices
of the Linux Foundation) is SPDX ( (which has been adopted by Debian
in DEP5). The workgroup at has come up with a list of commonly used
licenses (see The list has many licenses but
not all licenses that distributions will likely need to track and reference.
There should not be a problem with submitting more licenses to SPDX so be
included in that list.
I am not sure who manages this page, but and some
others cannot be displayed on my firefox as they give a xml parsing error.

I'm more than interested in hearing your comments, feedback and opinions.
Also, I've included as many people on the mail thread as I could and I believe
I have reached a large number of distributions. However, if anybody is aware
of a person/company who could be interested, please do forward this mail.

I just had a small discussion with Thomas Gordon who wrote Carneades:

His software currently uses an interactive questionaire but it could be
enhanced to read specs that contain a list of licenses and code relations as
well as general rules on how to interpret licenses (e.g. whether the GPL is to
be interpreted as being in conflict with US Copyright law title 17 paragraph 106
or not) and then could output a license compatibility report.

Doing this automatically on a large number of software projects could be used to
find out whether a specific license intepretation would affect a large number
of OSS projects that are typicallally shipped on distros.

Carneades currently contains basic rules for a few licenses. There would be a
need to refine the rules and to add more licenses but the engine is ready....


EMail:joerg@... (home) Jörg Schilling D-13353 Berlin
js@... (uni)
joerg.schilling@... (work) Blog:

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