Opened 11 years ago

Closed 11 years ago

#2649 closed bug (fixed)

License name is misleading

Reported by: mmu_man Owned by: axeld
Priority: blocker Milestone: R1/alpha1
Component: - General Version: R1/pre-alpha1
Keywords: Cc: ben.allen@…
Blocked By: Blocking:
Has a Patch: no Platform: All

Description (last modified by mmlr)

The "MIT" license does not actually exist. It's a nickname to the X11 license, which is close to the revised BSD one. But the MIT has used many license over time. Even though it's a known fact and might legally work, naming which we mean is much better. We should choose either X11 or BSD-revised, and use the correct name everywhere. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#X11License

Change History (10)

comment:1 by andreasf, 11 years ago

Axel recently changed my "MIT/X11" to "MIT", saying it was redundant.

My view is that [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT MIT| is an institution, so it is as accurate as saying FSF license (instead of GPLv2, ...). I guess that's what the GNU link above is trying to say.

The OSI lists it as MIT License though, so it can't be totally wrong.

comment:2 by bonefish, 11 years ago

Wikipedia knows the term MIT license, too. Given the name of our OS, it would be consequent to switch to the basically equivalent Poetic License, BTW. :-)

comment:3 by mmlr, 11 years ago

Description: modified (diff)
Summary: Licence name is misleadingLicense name is misleading

comment:4 by koki, 11 years ago

Cc: kokitomare@… added

Copy and paste of what I posted to the haiku-bugs list (not knowing that it was bad etiquette to reply to the list; my apologies).

The OSI seems to disagree (with the view that the MIT license does not exist):

http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php

Not an expert, but it does seem that it is not that clear cut.

When BGA said in our interview with the SCaLE folks back in February that Haiku used a BSD license, I recall Michael Phipps pointing out that it was not BSD but MIT the license that was chosen for Haiku. A quick search of the OpenBeos mailing list archive also reveals at least one message from Phipps that coincides with this:

http://www.freelists.org/archives/openbeos/04-2002/msg00342.html

I am note advocating one license name over another; but I do think it would be a good idea to (at least try to) get feedback from Michael Phipps on this one, as he (at least) seemed very clear on the choice and he may be able to throw some light into why that choice was made.

FWIW.

comment:5 by axeld, 11 years ago

The MIT license as found on OSI is our license. We could add a link to it somewhere in our tree (and/or AboutSystem), and also put it in there completely, for reference, once.

in reply to:  2 ; comment:6 by allenb, 11 years ago

Cc: ben.allen@… added

Replying to bonefish:

Wikipedia knows the term MIT license, too. Given the name of our OS, it would be consequent to switch to the basically equivalent Poetic License, BTW. :-)

Perhaps a more appropriate incarnation might be:

Permission granted,
Free of charge, to all persons
Obtaining these files

To use as you like:
Copy, share, or modify,
Free or for profit

Just one condition:
All copies must include these
License notices.

Software provided
"As-is", with no warranty
Express or implied

We have done our best;
Damages, problems: we will
Not be liable

in reply to:  6 comment:7 by andreasf, 11 years ago

Warranty disclaimers need to be uppercase to be legally valid in the US, I once read.

in reply to:  4 comment:8 by andreasf, 11 years ago

Replying to koki:

it would be a good idea to (at least try to) get feedback from Michael Phipps on this one, as he (at least) seemed very clear on the choice and he may be able to throw some light into why that choice was made.

The BSD License requires the copyrights to be acknowledged in the documentation, whereas the MIT/X11 License does not require them to be mentioned outside the source code. MIT/X11 is therefore regarded as the most liberal open-source license, making it very easy to adopt code in both copylefted and closed-source projects. As an example, with the MIT license someone might adopt Haiku as basis of an in-flight entertainment system without obligation to mention this on-screen or in the manual; BSD would require this but not GPL, while GPL would require them to provide their derived sources whereas BSD and MIT/X11 do not.

The Poetic License may be nice to read but I have strong doubts whether its creation involved any lawyer. Creating our own license text would provide the same challenge. Sticking with a widely established license would be easiest and best for new potential users to recognize. If we stated that Haiku was under the Haiku Public License "HPL" then no one would know what that means even if it's text were identical to MIT/X11 License.

Anyway, changing MIT to MIT/X11 would've been an unproblematic clarification change to apply (non-contential). Changing Haiku's license however should be discussed on the mailing list, not silently decided in a bug ticket.

comment:9 by axeld, 11 years ago

Cc: kokitomare@… removed

There is nothing to debate over IMO. We are using the MIT license as defined by the OSI. This is not a change, it has been this very license from the beginning on. I don't see a point in calling it MIT/X11, a reference to OSI should be more than enough for anyone who finds this confusing.

Keeping the ticket open until we have such a reference on the docs, and AboutSystem.

comment:10 by stippi, 11 years ago

Resolution: fixed
Status: newclosed

I added the respective note in AboutSystem in hrev28557. The license file was already included in /etc/lisences. I think that's even better than linking to the OSI page from AboutSystem.

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