[Pkg-db-devel] Bug#256332: clarification of doc licensing for db3/db4.2

dann frazier dannf at debian.org
Tue Apr 25 19:54:10 UTC 2006

(I believe the DPL has changed since my last request, so I'm
resending this request for assistance; I'm also adding debian-release
to the CC list as this concerns a potential stable update and a
potential pre-etch migration, and the DB maintenance team).

hey AJ,
  We are in need of some assistance on a matter of licensing.  In June
of 2004, a bug was filed noting that the db4.2 documentation is
under a clearly non-free license.  This also happens to be true for
the db3 package as well.  The history of this issue is well documented
in #256332, but I'll try to summarize here for your benefit.

  Sleepycat (the copyright holder at the time) was contacted, and they
quickly responded and agreed to change this licensing for future
releases.  Indeed, this is no longer an issue in the >= db4.3 packages.

  However; since that time we have continued shipping the db3 and
db4.2 packages in main, and these packages were included in the sarge
release.  And, though there is hope that we'll be able to drop these
packages before etch, they do still exist in sid/etch today.

  I resurrected this issue recently by reinitiating contact with Mike
Olson.  Mike acted as our legal contact at Sleepycat, which has since
been acquired by Oracle.  I asked if it would be possible to have this
older documentation retroactively relicensed so that we may continue
shipping it.  Mike noted that this would not be an insignificant
amount of work, and would like an authoritative statement from Debian
that we consider this relicensing necessary.

  It is worth pointing out that, from what I've read in the archives,
Mike has been very supportive and responsive to Debian requests in the

  I think its clear that we need to resolve this before the release of
etch.  As I see it, possible actions we can take include:
  * Removal of these packages from sid/etch, requiring a migration of
    all reverse dependencies to a newer version of db
  * Obtain relicensed copies of the documentation from Oracle
  * Remove the documentation from these source packages

  What's less clear is what we should do about sarge - should we
update these packages in the current stable release?  We are in the
process of doing this for cyrus-sasl2 (#357527), so there is at least
on example of precedence.  It was also noted that there is a
precedence for ignoring documentation licensing issues in sarge.

  I am looking for some guidance about how I should go about seeking
an authoritative Debian position.  My suggestion would be to make this
a DPL-delegated decision to a subgroup of interested developers,
including members of the legal, release, and db packaging teams
(assuming you believe such a decision is a valid use of delegation).

dann frazier

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