[rfc-i] Objection to reworked para 6.d (Re: Rationale for Proposed TLP Revisions)

Russ Housley housley at vigilsec.com
Mon Jul 20 05:41:04 PDT 2009

I think that the alternate text proposed by Harald meets the current 
need without constraining the future.


>Apologies for this being a month late.
> From the rationale:
>>4.e -- this new section clarifies the legend requirements for Code
>>Components that are used in software under the BSD License. In 
>>short, the user must include the full BSD License text or a shorter
>>pointer  to it (which is set forth in Section 6.d)
>>Explanation:  The issue of the appropriate BSD License language to
>>include in Code
>>Components extracted from IETF documents has been discussed extensively
>>within the IESG.  The proposed TLP language is intended to be consistent
>>with the IESG's latest guidance language, and allows the user of IETF
>>Code to include either the full BSD license language (about 15 lines of
>>text), or a short "pointer" to the BSD language (about 4 lines).
>>6.b -- a new sentence has been added to the legend that must be placed
>>on all IETF Documents, pointing out the BSD License requirements
>>described in 4.e above and emphasizing that code in IETF Documents
>>comes without any warranty, as described in the BSD License.
>>Explanation:  See 4.e above
>The text added, which is intended to be placed on all IETF documents 
>(internet-drafts and RFCs), is:
>>Code Components
>>extracted from this document must include BSD License text as 
>>described in Section 4.e of
>>the TLP and are provided without warranty as described in the BSD License.
>I object to this change.
>The reason is this:
>- The RFCs are intended to be permanent (as in "forever").
>- The purpose of the "incoming/outgoing split" was to make sure the 
>Trust had the tools it needed to fix any errors made, or to respond 
>to changed circumstances, by changing the rights granted under "outgoing".
>- The BSD license is a specific license text, and there is no 
>guarantee that there won't be new circumstances that warrant generic 
>licensing under a different license in the future.
>Thus, this change limits the ability of the Trust to respond to 
>future changes; if it ever decides (as an example) to use the Apache 
>License instead of the BSD license because some court has found the 
>BSD text to be objectionable in some manner, this will lead to all 
>documents published with this text to be misleading.
>(As an example of changed circumstances - the Wikimedia Foundation 
>just changed its licensing terms from GPL to a Creative Commons 
>license - this required some fancy footwork to make it seem legal, 
>even though a large majority of contributors agreed that it was the 
>right thing to do. I don't want to see that kind of trouble in the IETF.)
>If the text added instead read:
>  Code Components extracted from this document must include license text
>  as described in the TLP and are provided without warranty as described in
>  the TLP license provisions
>I would have no objection. This preserves the Trust's ability to 
>change provisions.
>                          Harald Alvestrand

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