[Pkg-zfsonlinux-devel] Bug#686447: [zfs-discuss] Re: Licence issues and non-issues with ZoL: CDDL and GPL

Bayard Bell buffer.g.overflow at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 02:16:54 UTC 2014

Any movement on this? Wearing an OpenZFS t-shirt to the GSoC mentor summit,
I got a lot of questions about the status of ZoL and licensing issues in
particular, and I referred to the unresolved matter because I took Debian
to be reasonably meticulous in its consideration of such questions. I fear
meticulous and itinerant are not simply at cross purposes at this point in
the manner that genuine complexity often demands. If the offered summary
position on inclusion is found unsatisfactory, surely it should be possible
after 10 weeks to articulate objections and reservations clearly.


On 31 August 2014 18:53, Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez <clopez at igalia.com>

> On 30/08/14 01:03, Andreas Dilger wrote:
> > On Aug 29, 2014, at 4:48 PM, Prakash Surya <me at prakashsurya.com> wrote:
> >> On Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 03:33:15PM -0600, Andreas Dilger wrote:
> >>> On Aug 29, 2014, at 4:49 AM, Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez
> >>> <clopez at igalia.com> wrote:
> >>>> On 27/08/14 14:33, Carlos Alberto Lopez Perez wrote:
> >>>>> Maybe we could share a RFC of the summary here when we think is
> ready, in order to double-check our understanding of the license stuff and
> get more feedback about it.
> >>>>
> >>>> On 27/08/14 16:38, Andreas Dilger wrote:
> >>>>> Hi Carlos,
> >>>>> I've been dealing with ZoL and the GPL/CDDL issues for a number
> >>>>> of years for the Lustre filesystem. IANAL, but know quite a bit about
> >>>>> these issues so I'd be happy to help out if I can.
> >>>>
> >>>> Thanks for the offer to help.
> >>>>
> >>>> Aron has posted our summary about the situation [1]. If you want to
> comment on it that would be great.
> >>>
> >>> In general I think this is a very well written summary of the issues.
> >>>
> >>> I think it is a disservice to your argument that you equate CDDL with
> proprietary binary licenses such as those used for NVidia or Broadcom.
> >>>
> >>> I would definitely seek clarification of what part of the "spirit" of
> the GPL is being violated.
> >>>
> >>> I think the most important point is that CDDL is an OSI-approved
> _open_source_ license, which eliminates IMHO the biggest objection to
> proprietary binary modules, since the source for ZFS is available for
> debugging, modification, and redistribution.
> >>>
> >>> The CDDL is actually a permissive license and even grants patent
> indemnification for any patents embodied in the original ZFS code (similar
> to GPLv3).  It is the GPL that restricts distributing with CDDL code and
> not the reverse (CDDL 3.6 explicitly allows this).
> >>
> >> I probably could read the GPL and figure this out, but, in what way does
> >> the GPL restrict distribution of GPL and CDDL code together? And maybe
> >> how it specifically relates to this instance, as the ZFS code is
> >> obviously not a derived work of any GPL project.
> >
> > You are right, and I forgot to make this important point as I was writing
> > my first email.  It is clear that ZFS is _not_ a derived work of Linux
> > (originally written for Solaris), and Linus has himself said this in
> > the past about AFS [1], and the GPL only covers code which is derived:
> >
> >     "If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
> >      Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate
> >      works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not
> >      apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works."
> >
> > and just distributing them together does not change this:
> >
> >     "In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the
> >      Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program)
> >      on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring
> >      the other work under the scope of this License."
> >
> > so if the ZoL module is not distributed as part of the kernel (i.e. in
> > a separate package) it is no more incompatible with the GPL than any
> > other piece of software that is available via download or on the same
> > DVD as others.
> >
> > [1] http://yarchive.net/comp/linux/gpl_modules.html
> >
> My understanding is that the part of the GPL that causes concerns is the
> one related to derived works.
> By comparing the CDDL with the proprietary licenses of the NVIDIA or
> Broadcom
> drivers, I tried to stress the point that this same concern related to
> derived
> works, would apply to any of this proprietary drivers.
> And Debian is already distributing this proprietary drivers in their
> archives.
> So it would be a non-sense that ZoL was deemed unsuitable for distribution
> by
> Debian, while at the same time Debian continues to distribute this
> proprietary
> drivers.
> You are right that maybe that comparison was not very fortunate. However,
> it should be kept in mind that the concerns of FTP Masters are not related
> with the CDDL license itself, but with the combination of GPL and CDDL in
> the same work.
> We hold the view that ZFS is not a derived work of the Linux Kernel, so the
> requirements of the GPL License for derived works would not apply to it,
> therefore both licenses could be satisfied at the same time when Debian
> distributes both the Linux Kernel and the ZFS driver (either in source
> code form, or as a binary loadable kernel module).
> Regards
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