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Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2016 12:01:32 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
To: Christopher Lane <>
Subject: Re: musl licensing

On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 08:14:04AM -0700, Christopher Lane wrote:
> On Mar 17, 2016 1:18 AM, <> wrote:
> >
> > On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 07:06:25PM -0700, Christopher Lane wrote:
> > > ... if releasing under e.g. BSD0 is OK when PD isn't
> > > valid, why isn't it OK for all situations.
> >
> > I expect that it is illegal in certain jurisdictions to claim
> > copyright on a public domain matter.
> >
> > This is not a problem for the musl user (Google) but potentially endangers
> > the developer who wrote the questionable copyright statement.
> >
> > This may explain why Google explicitly mentions "non-copyrightable" in a
> case
> > when it represents the developer party:
> >
> > On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 11:31:25AM +0100, Szabolcs Nagy wrote:
> > > bionic actually generates its kernel interface headers from (gpl) code
> > > and each file has the comment:
> > >
> > >  ***   This header was automatically generated from a Linux kernel
> header
> > >  ***   of the same name, to make information necessary for userspace to
> > >  ***   call into the kernel available to libc.  It contains only
> constants,
> > >  ***   structures, and macros generated from the original header, and
> thus,
> > >  ***   contains no copyrightable information.
> >
> > So this is actually all about which party shall take the risks,
> > musl or Google. Isn't it?
> This isn't about shoveling risk from Google to musl.  We want musl to be a
> clear and unambiguously licensable product so we can use it.  Incidentally,
> figuring out the licensing stuff here is a large distraction for our team
> (and we knew it would be), but we're willing to put in the time and effort
> because we think it's beneficial for the open source community overall, and
> because it's ethically correct. This isn't just CYA, and it's not some
> nefarious scheme.
> WRT bionic, I don't know what they're doing and I don't have any insight
> into what went into that decision.  I only know what our team has been told
> about using musl.
> If it comes down to it, it might be possible for us to avoid using any of
> the public domain parts of musl - maybe in a fashion similar to what bionic
> did, I don't know yet.  If that's good enough for our lawyers, it'll get
> our team unblocked and that's good enough I guess.  Though, I'd prefer we
> solve this without such a workaround so others can benefit.

I understand that's a possibility, but I'd like to work with you to
make sure that's not one you have to take, since using these parts is
actually one of the best aspects of using musl.


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