Coda File System

Re: protection database - lower edge

From: Sleepycat Software <>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 14:25:26 -0500 (EST)
> On Mon, 16 Feb 1998, Sleepycat Software wrote:
>>>> The license says you can use it commercially
>>>> if you distribute the source for your application.  
>>> The license at requires a little
>>> bit more; it requires not only that you distribute the source, but also
>>> that you make the source freely redistributable.
>> This is correct.  
> So this means that GPLed software is allowed under this clause, and
> doesn't need a special dispensation, right?  Or does the GPL not qualify
> as "freely redistributable under reasonable conditions"?

The former.  I believe that the GPL is a superset of the Berkeley
DB license, and that an individual or vendor that satisfies the
requirements of the GPL will have also satisfied the requirements
of the DB license.

>> Our intent is that people freely redistributing their work be
>> permitted to freely redistribute our work.  People wanting to
>> sell our software are required to obtain a commercial license.
> So this means that GPLed software is *not* allowed under this clause,
> since it can be freely sold?

I said that badly.

First, the GPL is separate from the Berkeley DB license -- earlier
versions of DB had Berkeley-style licenses, so using the GPL on DB
version 2 would have just made things worse.

Second, instead of "sell our software", I should have said "sell
our software under conditions other than that allowed by the DB

If you want to sell software that includes DB, you're welcome
to do it without any commercial license from us, as long as
you're meeting the requirements of the DB license.  What I'm
trying to say is that the Berkeley DB license requirements do
not mention selling the software.  You are welcome to sell it,
give it away, or whatever you want, as long as you meet the
conditions described in the license.

>> If this is an unfair policy for any particular distribution, we
>> are happy to come to an arrangement or create a special license
>> for that distribution.
>> For example, there are various software packages where the
>> authors *want* vendors to have permission to sell their work,
>> e.g., Samba and other GNU-licensed software.  
> So this is an example of when you create a special license for that
> distribution, since your normal license ( doesn't permit
> use of Berkeley DB 2.0 in GPLed applications?

I believe that you can include DB 2.X in GPL'd applications
without a special license, and that satisfying the requirements
of the GPL is sufficient to also satisfy the requirements of
the DB license.

The phrase "use of Berkeley DB 2.0 in GPLed applications" is
awkward.  By including Berkeley DB 2.0 in a GPL'd application,
you have added additional copyright requirements to the
application.  This is unavoidable, because Berkeley DB is not
distributed under the GPL.  However, the GPL already requires
that the software be freely redistributable, so the additional
copyright requirements do not require additional actions on the
part of the user/distributor.  Does that make sense?

>> We're happy to
>> permit these authors to include Berkeley DB in their packages,
>> under whatever terms they choose, with the only restriction
>> being that vendors cannot extract DB from the package and use
>> it separately.
> But this is a deliberate, explicit separate licensing agreement,
> specially created for those packages, and not included in the normal
> terms?

Yes.  There have been cases where the license being used to
distribute a package was not a superset of the Berkeley DB
license requirements (for example, was not the GPL), but it was
some version of "freeware", and we wanted the authors to be able
to use DB.

In these cases we have created separate licensing agreements so
that the authors could freely redistribute DB as part of their

> I'm just as confused as I was before!

My apologies, I hope that this helps clarify the situation.  If
not, just let me know and I'll try again!

Received on 1998-02-16 14:31:58