Discussion:
Updating CIDER's Research Software Agreement License For Use in Ngspice
(too old to reply)
Eric Kuzmenko
2016-10-21 00:00:26 UTC
Permalink
Hey Curt,

I am not a lawyer so my advice on this matter may be erroneous. Therefore,
I am choosing to include the Free Software Foundation, Debian's legal
group, and the Software Freedom Conservancy to weigh in; please advise us
on what should be done.

Here is something I believe you may be able to do (feel free to correct me):
If you have write access to the UCB's ftp server:
ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/

You could issue another blanket statement for CIDER. Something along the
lines of "Effective immediately, licensees and distributors of CIDER1b1 may
choose to use the terms of the 3-clause BSD license when distributing
CIDER1b1 or its modified works." Following the statement with the license
itself.

Best regards,

Eric Kuzmenko
Hi Eric,
Yes, we can change it to BSD.
The issue is how. We do not have control over the website and the SW
package online. I download the source code and found the license you refer
to.
Is this email sufficient or perhaps a letter? If you need a letter, maybe
you could suggest the wording you need.
Regards,
Curt
*Sent:* Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:13 PM
*To:* Curt THEISEN
*Cc:* Richard John HARRIS
*Subject:* Re: Updating CIDER's Research Software Agreement License For
Use in Ngspice
Hey Curt,
The issues are that first clause restricts capitalizing from UCB's code
and the third clause which requires compliance with U.S. export control
laws.
The second clause, which requires attribution, is fine.
Please let me know if the license can/will be changed.
Best regards,
Eric Kuzmenko
Hi Eric,
This appears to be very old code. The author does not appear to be at UCB
anymore.
What is the problem with the present license? I downloaded a compressed
file that had the license you refer to. It appears to be very similar to
BSD although it says you can’t charge a fee. Is that the issue?
Regards,
Curt
*Sent:* Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:50 PM
*Subject:* Updating CIDER's Research Software Agreement License For Use
in Ngspice
Hello All,
I am not an Ngspice developer, although I am one of its many users. I am
unable use Ngspice at work since it is found in the non-free Debian archive.
There is only one component of Ngspice left which does not comply with
the Debian Free Software Guidelines; namely CIDER, which couples SPICE3F5
to the DSIM device simulator.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find David Alan Gates' (author of CIDER)
email address to include him in this message.
According to the Debian mailing list, someone requested that CIDER's
https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/08/msg00244.html
Fortunately, Bill Hoskins helped to remove the advertising clause from BSD
Unix: ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change
Though Hoskins' work did not effect CIDER's Research Software Agreement
License.
Please investigate the possibility of re-licensing CIDER1b1 to something
more permissive, such as the 3-clause BSD License or the X11 license used
by SPICE3F5; so that it may receive more attention from the community.
Otherwise, the alternatives would be to either reimplement CIDER's
behavior, which would essentially be fruitless, or to wait out the
remainder (48+ year) of its *limited times* duration.
Best regards,
Eric Kuzmenko
Ben Finney
2016-10-21 01:00:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
I am not a lawyer so my advice on this matter may be erroneous.
Please note that the ‘debian-legal’ forum is also not a good one to seek
legal advice.
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
Therefore, I am choosing to include the Free Software Foundation,
Debian's legal group, and the Software Freedom Conservancy to weigh
in; please advise us on what should be done.
Nor is the ‘debian-legal’ forum a good place for general advice about
software licensing. Our scope is limited to discussing the legal effects
on Debian recipients, of software packages that are or are proposed to
be in Debian. We don't claim to give advice beyond that.
A backward-sorted quote chain is not likely to be a reliable guide to
what is needed now. Could you summarise the issue, and the question
being asked of us here?
--
\ “I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To |
`\ be forced to tell lies is much worse.” —Oscar Wilde, _De |
_o__) Profundis_, 1897 |
Ben Finney <***@boojum.com.au>
Eric Kuzmenko
2016-10-21 04:45:53 UTC
Permalink
Hello Ben,

I apologize for contacting the debian-legal forum for an irrelevant matter.

Curt, who is an Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing
for University of California, Berkeley, has stated that UCB is willing to
relicense CIDER1b1 (1994) under the modified BSD license.

CIDER is used as Ngspice's mixed-level circuit and device simulator.
CIDER has been licensed under UCB's "Research Software Agreement License"
which restricts capitalizing on the software and requires compliance with
U.S. export control laws. It was therefore not free software and did not
comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, hence why it is found in
Debian's non-free archive.

Curt has also stated that he and his team are unable to modify the page and
associated tarball which are used to distribute CIDER1b1 at
https://embedded.eecs.berkeley.edu/pubs/downloads/cider/index.htm

They are requesting advice as to how they should handle the change in
license, particularly with respect to their current technical restriction.

Best regards,

Eric Kuzmenko
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
I am not a lawyer so my advice on this matter may be erroneous.
Please note that the ‘debian-legal’ forum is also not a good one to seek
legal advice.
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
Therefore, I am choosing to include the Free Software Foundation,
Debian's legal group, and the Software Freedom Conservancy to weigh
in; please advise us on what should be done.
Nor is the ‘debian-legal’ forum a good place for general advice about
software licensing. Our scope is limited to discussing the legal effects
on Debian recipients, of software packages that are or are proposed to
be in Debian. We don't claim to give advice beyond that.
A backward-sorted quote chain is not likely to be a reliable guide to
what is needed now. Could you summarise the issue, and the question
being asked of us here?

--
\ “I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To |
`\ be forced to tell lies is much worse.” —Oscar Wilde, _De |
_o__) Profundis_, 1897 |
Ben Finney <***@boojum.com.au>
Paul Wise
2016-10-21 06:18:13 UTC
Permalink
Curt, who is an Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing for
University of California, Berkeley, has stated that UCB is willing to
relicense CIDER1b1 (1994) under the modified BSD license.
Excellent.
Curt has also stated that he and his team are unable to modify the page and
associated tarball which are used to distribute CIDER1b1 at
https://embedded.eecs.berkeley.edu/pubs/downloads/cider/index.htm
Have they tried contacting the EECS department?
They are requesting advice as to how they should handle the change in
license, particularly with respect to their current technical restriction.
If the EECS department can't put a statement on the web page, I would
go with something similar to what was done for the BSD Unix license
change; IIRC that was a press release, a statement on the main UCB FTP
server and a new copy of the tarball on the FTP server with updated
license notices.
--
bye,
pabs

https://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise
Francesco Poli
2016-10-21 21:25:54 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:45:53 +0000 Eric Kuzmenko wrote:

[...]
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
It was therefore not free software and did not
comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, hence why it is found in
Debian's non-free archive.
First of all, thanks for trying to liberate an important software
package for circuit simulation!
It would be really awesome, if ngspice could become Free Software.

However, please note that CIDER is apparently not the only non-free
part of the "ngspice" Debian package [1]. According to the
debian/copyright file [2] of version 26-1.1, there are other parts that
do not comply with the DFSG.

Namely, the parts under

* the NOOVELA license (non-commercial use only, lack of permission
to copy, distribute and modify)

* no license ("No license found, only copyright")

* the SPICEDOC license (educational, research and non-profit purposes
only)

Then there's the CIDER_LICENSE issue which you are trying to address.

My own personal opinion [3] is that all these issues have to be solved,
before the "ngspice" Debian package can be moved to the Debian main
archive.

I hope this may be done...
Bye.


[1] https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/ngspice
[2] http://metadata.ftp-master.debian.org/changelogs/non-free/n/ngspice/ngspice_26-1.1_copyright
[3] I am not a member of the Debian Project, I am just an external
contributor: I don't officially speak on behalf of the Debian Project,
I just express my own personal opinion
--
http://www.inventati.org/frx/
There's not a second to spare! To the laboratory!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82 3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE
Eric Kuzmenko
2016-10-25 02:16:37 UTC
Permalink
Hey Francesco,

Looking at Ngspice's upstream source code shows that only the Ngspice's
User Manual (and documentation) falls under the "SPICEDOC" license. Curt
may be able to assist with changing its license as well, otherwise Debian
could distribute it separately from Ngspice itself. I am not sure what
specific project caused Ngspice to inherit this documentation license.
It seems the animation and differentiation routines for xgraph written by
Paul Walker at UIUC is licensed with the ownership of modifications
restriction and non-commercial clause. For this piece of Ngspice we would
need to contact UIUC.
As for the unspecified works, I'm not sure what should be done, maybe the
FSF could advise.

For now, I believe we should focus on changing CIDER1b1's license since it
is a low hanging fruit and is very critical to Ngspice's simulations, then
we can move on to the rest.

How should Curt go about making CIDER1b1's license change?

Best regards,

Eric Kuzmenko
Post by Francesco Poli
[...]
Post by Eric Kuzmenko
It was therefore not free software and did not
comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, hence why it is found in
Debian's non-free archive.
First of all, thanks for trying to liberate an important software
package for circuit simulation!
It would be really awesome, if ngspice could become Free Software.
However, please note that CIDER is apparently not the only non-free
part of the "ngspice" Debian package [1]. According to the
debian/copyright file [2] of version 26-1.1, there are other parts that
do not comply with the DFSG.
Namely, the parts under
* the NOOVELA license (non-commercial use only, lack of permission
to copy, distribute and modify)
* no license ("No license found, only copyright")
* the SPICEDOC license (educational, research and non-profit purposes
only)
Then there's the CIDER_LICENSE issue which you are trying to address.
My own personal opinion [3] is that all these issues have to be solved,
before the "ngspice" Debian package can be moved to the Debian main
archive.
I hope this may be done...
Bye.
[1] https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/ngspice
[2]
http://metadata.ftp-master.debian.org/changelogs/non-free/n/ngspice/ngspice_26-1.1_copyright
[3] I am not a member of the Debian Project, I am just an external
contributor: I don't officially speak on behalf of the Debian Project,
I just express my own personal opinion
--
http://www.inventati.org/frx/
There's not a second to spare! To the laboratory!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82 3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE
Holger Vogt
2018-03-17 10:37:30 UTC
Permalink
UC Berkeley yesterday has agreed to put CIDER under BSD (see
https://embedded.eecs.berkeley.edu/pubs/downloads/cider/index.htm).
Taking into account
ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change CIDER is
now covered by the Modified BSD license.

Holger
Francesco Poli
2018-03-17 12:14:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Holger Vogt
UC Berkeley yesterday has agreed to put CIDER under BSD (see
https://embedded.eecs.berkeley.edu/pubs/downloads/cider/index.htm).
Taking into account
ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.License.Change CIDER is
now covered by the Modified BSD license.
Wow, this looks like great news!
Thanks to all the people involved in this liberation effort! :-)

Have the other issues been addressed, as well?
Please see my previous
[message](https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2016/10/msg00030.html)
for further details...
--
http://www.inventati.org/frx/
There's not a second to spare! To the laboratory!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82 3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE
Holger Vogt
2018-03-18 14:01:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Francesco Poli
Have the other issues been addressed, as well?
Please see my previous
[message](https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2016/10/msg00030.html)
for further details...
Yes, I am working on these items.
Post by Francesco Poli
the NOOVELA license (non-commercial use only, lack of permission to
copy, distribute and modify)
Code has been rewritten and re-licensed, is now GPL
Post by Francesco Poli
no license ("No license found, only copyright")
Has been clarified, a question is still:
2 contributions are under 'Educational Community License 1.0' and '2.0'
https://opensource.org/licenses/ECL-2.0
https://opensource.org/licenses/ecl1.php

Are these compatible to DFSG? I did not find them in any compatibility list.
Post by Francesco Poli
the SPICEDOC license (educational, research and non-profit purposes
only)
Text is outdated, will be removed

Holger
Francesco Poli
2018-03-19 22:43:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Holger Vogt
Post by Francesco Poli
Have the other issues been addressed, as well?
Please see my previous
[message](https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2016/10/msg00030.html)
for further details...
Yes, I am working on these items.
That's great, thanks for doing so!
Post by Holger Vogt
Post by Francesco Poli
the NOOVELA license (non-commercial use only, lack of permission to
copy, distribute and modify)
Code has been rewritten and re-licensed, is now GPL
Good.
Post by Holger Vogt
Post by Francesco Poli
no license ("No license found, only copyright")
2 contributions are under 'Educational Community License 1.0' and '2.0'
https://opensource.org/licenses/ECL-2.0
https://opensource.org/licenses/ecl1.php
Are these compatible to DFSG? I did not find them in any compatibility list.
The ECL v1.0 was discussed a long time ago in a debian-legal
[thread](https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2011/08/msg00014.html).
My own contribution to the thread is this
[analysis](https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2011/08/msg00017.html).

On the other hand, I haven't found any debian-legal discussion about
the ECL v2.0.

FWIW, the FSF
[states](https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#ECL2.0)
that it

[...]
| is a free software license, and it is compatible with GPLv3. It is
| based on the Apache License 2.0; the scope of the patent license has
| changed so that when an organization's employee works on a project,
| the organization does not have to license all of its patents to
| recipients.
| This patent license and the indemnification clause in section 9 make
| this license incompatible with GPLv2.
[...]

I haven't found the time to analyze the ECL v2.0 and compare it with
the Apache License v2.0, though.
Maybe this can be done on debian-legal...
Post by Holger Vogt
Post by Francesco Poli
the SPICEDOC license (educational, research and non-profit purposes
only)
Text is outdated, will be removed
OK.
--
http://www.inventati.org/frx/
There's not a second to spare! To the laboratory!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82 3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE
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