[SMAUG] Caldera Workstation 3.1

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Wed Aug 8 01:43:01 2001


Ronald Joe Record wrote (replying to Raphael):

> Ok, so your direct experience with OpenLinux 3.1 is pretty much
> hearsay.

That is perhaps a fair comment.  I don't have a machine handy I can do
sample installations on, at the moment, but let's have a look at my
newly-burned copy of Caldera OpenLinux Workstation v. 3.1, to see what
we can determine objectively:

The root directory includes:

   -r--r--r--    1 root     root        19264 May  3 06:20 EULA.txt
   -r--r--r--    1 root     root        10607 May  3 06:20 LICENSE.TXT

Let's have a look at EULA.txt:

   CALDERA SYSTEMS, INC. SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT

   IMPORTANT, READ CAREFULLY ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS SOFTWARE
   LICENSE AGREEMENT ("LICENSE") WHICH IS INCLUDED WITH THE PRODUCT OR
   WHICH APPEARS AS PART OF INSTALLATION OF THE SOFTWARE.

I am curious what specific code this licence pertains to, given that
Caldera Systems, Inc. has no copyright whatsoever to almost the entire
contents of the disc.  The terms "PRODUCT" and "SOFTWARE" -- used very 
vaguely in the above, are detailed a tiny bit, below:

   o "Product" is a Caldera offering comprising any or all of the
   following: 
      1. one or more copies of Software;
      2. the Certificate of License and Authenticity (COLA)
      3. the Documentation; and
      4. the Updates, to the extent made available by Caldera.
   o "Software" is the machine-readable (object) code portion of the
   Product and any human readable code contained on the media.

So, "Product" is defined in terms of "Software", and "Software" is
defined in terms of "Product"?

   GRANT

   Caldera grants You and You accept from Caldera, the following limited,
   non-exclusive rights.
   [...]
   You may load, copy or transmit the Software, in whole or in part, only
   as necessary to enable the Software to be used by up to the permitted
   number of computers and CPUs as designated on the COLA.
   [...]
   Evaluation License. This section applies to You if the Software is
   provided to You for evaluation or demonstration purposes.  Such 
   Software may contain an automatic disabling mechanism.  Your right to
   use the Software is limited in accordance with the terms of the
   evaluation offering under which You received the Software. If no
   period of use is specified, then Your right to use the Software shall
   terminate 30 days from receipt of the Software, at which time You must
   return or destroy the Software.  If you have obtained the Product for 
   demonstration purposes, you may only use the Software for demonstration 
   purposes, and may not use the Software for any other purpose, including 
   to run Your business, in a production environment, or to perform
   other business activities.

One gathers that I may elect to regard my copy of "Software" (or is it 
"Product"?) as being an evaluation copy, in which case I may use it for 
any purpose (other than "USE OR RESALE WITH ON-LINE CONTROL EQUIPMENT IN 
HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENTS REQUIRING FAIL-SAFE PERFORMANCE, SUCH AS IN THE 
OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION, COMMUNICATION, 
OR CONTROL SYSTEMS, DIRECT LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES, WEAPONS SYSTEMS, OR 
OTHER USES IN WHICH FAILURE OF THE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD DIRECTLY TO DEATH, 
PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE") for 30
days only -- or I can call it a demonstration copy, entitling me to 
more long term usage for "demonstration purposes" only.


   YOU MAY PRINT OR COPY THE DOCUMENTATION ONLY FOR 
   USE WITH LICENSED CALDERA SOFTWARE.

Of course, this is utter bullshit, unenforceable, and outright offensive
as to the 99% of the CD's contents that Caldera uses under
free-distribution licenses from third-party copyright holders.

Fortunately, the document also clarifies:

   The Software contains various software programs with different
   license rights.  There may be provided with the Product open source
   software....

LICENCE.TXT clarifies which components are under which licences (and, in
some cases, what appears to be the copyright-owner's identity).  One
finds the following items (only) that might be both proprietary _and_
not-freely-distributable:

   hwdata                          Caldera Systems Inc.
   hwprobe                         1999-2000, Caldera Systems Inc.
   libsmbclient                    Caldera Systems
   java                            Sun; by permission (no source code)
   logcheck                        (C) Psionic Software; by permission
   portsentry                      (C) Psionic Software; by permission
   spread                          Spread Concepts LLC
   xmbase-grok                     Thomas_Driemeyer

So, I am left mystified as to what on the CD-ROM the restrictive
language of EULA.txt refers to?  Which codebase?  

Or, alternatively, is Caldera Systems, Inc. asserting that this licence
applies to a compilation copyright it alleges exists for the CD-ROM as 
a whole?  I trust you are familiar with Richard M. Stallman's statement
that claiming compilation copyright over a work that includes GPLed
components is inconsistent with GPL v. 2 sections 2 and 5.  You would 
not be able to legally include third-party GPLed software in such a work
(absent special permission from each copyright holder affected).



Well, anyway, Ronald..., so, here we are.  I doubt you're the company
counsel (IANAL, either), so I don't seriously expect you to address the
above-quoted legalistic malarkey.  I understand the position you're in.

At the same time, I'm not going to go any further with that disc, and
may soon remove it and the Server disc from my InstallFest kit.  I've
seen the LISA stuff, the COAS stuff, and the Lizard stuff.  I doubt
there are many surprises for me on that disc.  Or anyone else on this
list, either.

> First, i am aware of only one vendor whose Linux distribution does not
> contain proprietary software.  That is the not-for-profit Debian
> distribution. All of the other vendors include packages like Netscape
> Communicator or Adobe plugins.

But all of those are freely distributable.  Caldera's purports to not be
-- if you can trust a really _badly_ written, vague licence statement
that (among other faults) fails to identify what property it concerns.

Nothing on a Linux-Mandrake 8.0 CD restricts redistribution.  Nothing on
the SuSE "evaluation" 7.0 CD.  Nothing on the Red Hat 7.1 pair.  Nothing
on Libranet 1.8.2.  Just yours, it seems.

(Yes, other firms _do_ have proprietary, not-freely-distributable
_supersets_ of their freely-redistributable distributions, with Sun
Forte, Star Office, Corel Office 2000, the Sun Java SDK, and such.  SuSE
does, for example.  But you guys apparently no longer have any
freely-distributable base version at _all_ -- at least, not if one takes
that comic-opera "EULA" of yours seriously.)

> As for the criticism than Caldera takes and doesn't give, well, i just
> think this is pretty hypocritical. Almost every person who has
> levelled this sort of criticism isn't a very active contributor to any
> major open source project.

This is an example of the rhetorical fallacy called "tu quoque".
Elementary school teachers (and parents) call it "Two wrongs making a
right." I trust I don't have to teach you _why_ this is a fallacy?

A statement that is objectively true is true regardless of the personal
merits of the speaker.  A statement that is objectively false remains
false regardless of that same issue.

I wish your employer luck, I guess, but can readily see why its
mindshare seems to be dropping down through the basement.  I'd earlestly
recommend that your firm consider a SuSE-style licensing model for the 
distributable single-disc ISO images, and drop the legal bullshit.

Until then, about the only non-derogatory attention it's going to get is
what it pays for directly, courtesy of its advertising budget.  And when 
the latter starts drying up, and the Noorda Family Trust starts being
less generous, remember the year you (plural, not you personally) decided 
community mindshare doesn't matter.

-- 
Cheers,           "I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate
Rick Moen         those who do.  And, for the people who like country music,
rick@linuxmafia.com         denigrate means 'put down'."      -- Bob Newhart
(speaking for himself, alone)