[SciPy-dev] CeCILL license

Robert Kern robert.kern@gmail....
Sat Oct 24 18:06:18 CDT 2009

On Sat, Oct 24, 2009 at 17:39, Gael Varoquaux
<gael.varoquaux@normalesup.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 24, 2009 at 04:30:03PM -0500, Robert Kern wrote:
>> None of the CeCILL licenses are suitable for code in scipy, in my
>> opinion. The CeCILL-B is closest, but it has attribution requirements
>> that are stronger in some ways than the GPL-incompatible advertising
>> clause in the original BSD license. I'm pretty sure it is not
>> GPL-compatible, and I doubt it will be considered DFSG-free or OSI
>> approved.
> I do believe it is DFSG-free. If not, I would love to know about an
> example. According to the wikipedia page, CeCILL is GPL compatible, and
> CeCILL-B is compatible with BSD, BIT and X11. However, the CeCILL webpage
> does look suspicious. If you have any had facts, or previous legal or
> informal cases involving the interpretation of the attribution closes, I
> am interested, as I can try loby the legal office of my two employers,
> which are 2 of the 3 CeCILL founder to make changes for the next version.

Section "5.3.4 CREDITS" contains this clause:

"3. mention, on a freely accessible website describing the Modified
Software, at least throughout the distribution term thereof, that it
is based on the Software licensed hereunder, and reproduce the
Software intellectual property notice,"

I believe this fails the Dissident Test.


Also, this section's interactions with "External Modules", which are
defined as "any or all Modules, not derived from the Software, so that
this Module and the Software run in separate address spaces, with one
calling the other when they are run", probably runs afoul of the
"License Must Not Contaminate Other Software" provision:

"If the Software, whether or not modified, is distributed with an
External Module designed for use in connection with the Software, the
Licensee shall submit said External Module to the foregoing

While the CeCILL-B license claims to be *similar* to the BSD license
with respect to its obligations about redistributing source code, it
can hardly be said to be "compatible" with it in the way that the
CeCILL license is compatible with the GPL. It has far too many terms
above and beyond the BSD license.

I would encourage you to encourage the CeCILL powers-that-be to submit
their licenses for OSI approval and through debian-legal to get their
licenses declared DFSG-free. Those processes will shake out a whole
ton(ne) of issues.

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless
enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as
though it had an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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