Virally licensed code in FreeBSD kernel

Chad Perrin perrin at
Sat Apr 14 20:36:27 UTC 2007

On Sat, Apr 14, 2007 at 09:09:46PM +0200, Philipp Wuensche wrote:
> Chad Perrin wrote:
> > On Sat, Apr 14, 2007 at 06:55:39PM +0200, Philipp Wuensche wrote:
> >> Brett Glass wrote:
> >>
> >> So CDDL does not require to license add-ons under CDDL, GPL does. In
> >> this terms, FreeBSD is basically an add-on to the ZFS module ;-).
> > 
> > The most relevant part of the CDDL seems to be section 3.6, "Larger
> > Works":
> > 
> >   You may create a Larger Work by combining Covered Software with other
> >   code not governed by the terms of this License and distribute the
> >   Larger Work as a single product. In such a case, You must make sure the
> >   requirements of this License are fulfilled for the Covered Software.
> > 
> > The term "Covered Software" is defined in a sufficiently ambiguous
> > manner that a court battle over whether or not a "Larger Work" would be
> > subject, in full, to the terms of the CDDL would probably be decided in
> > favor of the guy with more money:
> > 
> >   "Covered Software" means (a) the Original Software, or (b)
> >   Modifications, or (c) the combination of files containing Original
> >   Software with files containing Modifications, in each case including
> >   portions thereof.
> But the rest of the BSD system does not fall under "Original Software",
> "Modifications" or combination of both as they are defined in this
> licsense. As I see it, it just states that everything under CDDL in the
> "Larger Work" has to be handled like that, this does not include the
> rest of the "Larger Work" which would be "code not governed by the terms
> of this License".

We're discussing what constitutes "code not goverened by the terms of
this license", so until that's settled you can't really use that phrase
as justification for your argument.  Note, for instance, that it makes
no reference to "code that was not already governed by this license".
Thus, we don't know from that statement whether additional code as part
of a "Larger Work" is excluded by that statement.

> They explicitly state: "In such a case, You must make sure the
> requirements of this License are fulfilled for the _Covered Software_."
> So the requirements must be fullfilled for software under CDDL, and not
> for "code not governed by the terms of this License" (code under BSD in
> our case).

The question here is whether code previously "not governed by the terms
of this license" is now "governed by the terms of this license".  As
things currently stand, and with the ambiguous phrasing of the license,
it appears to me that this issue cannot be definitively settled without
a judicial decision (or alteration of the CDDL to clarify the matter).

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);

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