BUG: Please fix contradictory license

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BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by seeit » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:11 am

Ubuntu has rejected LinuxSampler from their repositories (even Multiverse) because the license is considered self-contradictory.
*This* is the reason, not that it is not free or other.
please see:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+sour ... bug/252330
see fourth post by Emmet Hikory for the details. The problem seems to be the part of GPL that states "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein."
Stéphane Magnenat suggests that in LinuxSampler library incompatible parts of GPL (like the sentence above) are overridden as well. However this apparently was not clear enough for Ubuntu inclusion.
Bottom line: would you please take the GPL text and modify it in-place with your added restrictions, check that it is self-consistent, then paste the whole license of LinuxSampler on the website (and into LS sources)? (instead of telling the reader: take the GPL text and append the following restriction "...")

Not having LinuxSampler in Ubuntu is a big problem, because Ubuntu is the most widely used distribution nowadays. Also your .deb files don't seem to match ubuntu perfectly because of the libgig naming problem. Also you do not provide 64 bit version. Also people would like to use apt-get to get LinuxSampler...

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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by ccherrett » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:21 pm

I have seen this topic come up a lot over the years now and it seems that the creators of linuxsampler are good with the way things are. So that said I would suggest using the following link and getting the packages yourself:


I am not trying to be rude it is just that the license has been as such for years and nothing has changed even though there has been much discussion over this topic.

I thought Ubuntu was not as uptight as debian was about these things?
Christopher Cherrett
Founder of The Open Octave Project

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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by sbenno » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:56 pm

if you want to compile your own linuxsampler binary (optimized for your cpu with custom tailored polyphony etc) for debian based systems like Ubuntu etc
see this easy to follow HOWTO:

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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by ggoodesa » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:03 pm

While I was aware that Ubuntu Studio had ceased to include LinuxSampler I had not taken the time to read the threads regarding the contradictory license - the reason behind the exclusion. It is an interesting argument...

This is the core of the argument:
"It both claims to be GPL (and is largely based on GPL code) which includes the provision that one may run the program, while also restricting use for commercial purposes. As such, it becomes undistributable. If linuxsampler were to change to a different license upstream that restricted use for non-commercial purposes, it would certainly be eligible for inclusion in multiverse. Alternately, if it were to change to be GPL, it would be eligible for inclusion in universe.

Just for clarification, as of this writing, the distributed linuxsampler is under GPL 2.0 + "commercial exception". The commercial exception reads "LinuxSampler is licensed under the GNU GPL with the exception that USAGE of the source code, libraries and applications FOR COMMERCIAL HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE PRODUCTS IS NOT ALLOWED without prior written permission by the LinuxSampler authors.". The relevant section of the GPL (2.0) is section 6, which includes in part "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.". This is generally interpreted as not permitting the imposition of additional restrictions such as the commercial exception."

So the solution could simply be to take the GPL (2.0) license, remove section 6, add the commercial exception in it's place, and call it the LinuxSampler License (Which is what I do in my head anyway...) and publish it on linuxsampler.org/include it with the source distribution, etc...

Then Ubuntu builders could include LinuxSampler binaries and source in Multiverse, and all the other pieces in Universe.

It would be very very nice to be included in Ubuntu Studio... it would make my life a lot easier, and probably a lot of other users too. I think it's worth doing.

My 2c


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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by davephillips » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:38 pm


I'll start by stating that I love LS and am not personally much disturbed by its licensing.

However, the commercial exception does contradict the first of the Four Freedoms stated by the FSF :

"The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0)."

Similar exceptions are now found on the Eisenkraut and FScape pages. Tell me, where does it end ? Can I license my software under the GPL and then forbid its use by Islamic fundamentalists ? Basque separatists ? White trailer trash Americans ?

See also:

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/g ... NoMilitary

Alas, the exception has only served to keep LS out of the mainstream distros, including many of the media-optimized distros. If the intent of the devels is to see their software become more popular then this course seems rather contradictory to that goal. New users are typically loathe to compile anything, much less a multi-component system like LS, and I can't blame them if they simply skip it out of frustration. (And to be clear: I compile LS myself, but I'm not exactly a newbie).

So for the sake of greater acceptance for LS I suggest creating a unique license instead of creating possibly unsupportable exceptions to an existing license.

And again I say: I state these facts for the purpose of elucidation, *not* to flame or otherwise irritate the LS devs.

Just my two pfennigs. :)

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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by Alex » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:37 pm

Ok, i'm in.

The last time i saw, felt and recovered, from a mailing list 'discussion' about the LS license, it was after a conciliatory cognac that i had a good think about this, and offer the following:

I find It slightly hypocritical of any mainstream distro to effectively 'ban' LS for it's license, when there are still elements of the LS package included in repos, and that further complicates things for the non coder/dumb user like me, who has to hire a red wine swilling priest, and exorcise the old bits before installing the new. I figure it's all in or all out, as the practical considerations of one hairy calf in, and one hairy calf out does no one any good. So it seems there's already a rather relaxed view of the user's experience, or inexperience, on the part of the main players who have made it clear they're building for the hordes, with the 'challenge Win' gleam in their eye. (And i can hardly fault them for that, given my own wonderful experience with linux audio.)

The bit that seems to bring out the flag wavers on all sides is the 'never the twain shall meet' syndrome. There's a swell of determination that an opensource license of any flavour is determindedly copy left, and brave and courageous souls work tirelessly to maintain that gap. Rightly so, imho, as Blinky Bill may or may not have already raided opensource for ideas, or the pursuit of patents, accompanied by a troll or two. And i'm sorry to say this, but that gap, and the fight to keep it as wide as possible, does lend one to think there's those who will, by nature of their enthusiasm, see nothing but a 'pure' end result.

Personally, and this may well have much to do with a practical neccessity on my part, i don't have a problem with the license, and it's quite clear what the rules are, decided by the devs, as is the case with any app or code written. Where is the conflict in clearly and unambiguously stating that there is 1 exception, that captures and protects the devs work?

That trainwreck of a discussion proved to me that are many shades of black, as each contributor put his or her viewpoint, armed with their own decision and judgement of what is correct or not, and even as a collective of purity were unable to agree amongst themselves where the 'line' should be. It's hardly surprising that users, intent on learning how to compile this excellent programme would get confused, shrug their shoulders and drift off. If one were to be pedantic, the LS devs could in fact have a case for asking if the discussion contributors were seeking to limit, or in some way strangle the growth of LS, and the work of its devs, just to prove a point, to THEIR satisfaction. That would frankly be a road to disaster, as trying to satisfy everyone's idea of what is correct would result in yet another discussion, committee, etc...

Perhaps the license itself should be examined, and an inclusion that specifically caters for this particular exception should be included. I fear though that such an idea, and the ensuing discussion would, again, go on for ever and a day, and nothing would get done.

There's another aspect to this too, that leads me to think Linux could do with a few rebels from time to time. (Hugely ironic for me, as linux devs, are by nature of the consequence of sticking it to commercial and frequently ruthless operators, rebels by nature) What about an opensource sample format? I've read numerous discussions on this, and yet we're no closer to an agreed standard, and framework. I've never been more aware of my inability to code, because i'd go ahead and write a standard format, then let the committee/discussion commence, after the event. I don't doubt this has been tried, by talented people, but none of us are getting any younger, and there's an opportunity that seems to keep getting missed?

So is the regular appraisal of the LS license a lesson for us all in keeping the 'purity' of opensource, (a worthy crusade), or yet another opportunity to talk about it, and have yet another......... enthusiastic discussion?
I wouldn't blame Christian and the team for a second if they got bored with the talk, and built a sample format of their own. At least it's a beginning, and using the LS license discussion as a benchmark of evidence, another chance for the purity team to don their togas and pontificate about the worth of such a format.

Just maybe the LS license discussion, that may previously have been an earnest attempt to clarify a position, has deteriorated into somewhat of a red herring, distracting from a chance to progress further, and develop ever more user friendly methods of getting the linux face into more hands, and PCs. I've seen a wealth of progress over the last ten months from people i consider extremely gifted, and i'd hate to see the 'old gardening glove' get dragged out of the potting shed yet again, for another round of discussion that would end in the same place, with everyone satisfied that they've waved THEIR interpretation flag, and standing in the same place that they were when they started.

I'm a linux convert, and more than willing to enthuse and encourage about the opportunities it presents for us audio/midi/make some noise chaps, but pragmatically, going over and over the same subject, with the same end result, isn't going to endear our favourite OS to as many potentially willing users as we'd want.

The value of the FSF is powerful on many levels, and i'm all for it. Lumping the exception in the LS license in among the heavyweights the FSF was designed to keep out of the picture is like sticking a howitzer in a mouse's backside.

Overkill. (imho)

On a lighter note, and i address this to my learned and wise colleague, Dave, i have two more groups that should be added to your list of undesirables.

Country and Western.

Now THERE's a discussion worth having.. :mrgreen:

Regards to you all,



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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by viciouslime » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:21 am

Where is the conflict in clearly and unambiguously stating that there is 1 exception, that captures and protects the devs work?
That's the problem, it's not clear or unambiguous...

The licence contradicts itself. It both states there is an exception and that there cannot be any exceptions! Ideally, the exception would be removed... but I know that's been discussed to death and it's probably never going to happen. However, if the devs do want to keep the licence as they PERCEIVE it to be, then they need to change it so it actually is like that.

Ubuntu would be happy to include it in the multiverse repository, where they have other non-free software, but they can't do that because this software is neither free nor non-free, its licence is simply broken...

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Re: BUG: Please fix contradictory license

Post by raboof » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:36 pm

The licence contradicts itself. It both states there is an exception and that there cannot be any exceptions!
Section 6 is about redistribution, not distribution. The LS team is perfectly allowed to release their own code under a `GPL-with-exceptions' license. However, third parties are not allowed to take LS, add some additional exceptions, and then redistribute.

There is still a problem though: LS links to libgig, which is distributed under the GPL. Now the LS team, as the authors of libgig, are not bound to the license on their own software, so they can release a LS linked to libgig*. Ubuntu, however, cannot: that would be a violation of the libgig license, as the `GPL-with-exceptions' is not compatible with the GPL.

I think this issue could be easily resolved in a way that sounds acceptable to all parties involved, by dual-licensing libgig: releasing it both under the `pure' GPL and the `GPL-with-exceptions'. Those who want to redistribute LinuxSampler could simply take the `GPL-with-exceptions' version of libgig and link that to LS.

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