[arch-dev-public] Mongodb and SSPL

Morten Linderud foxboron at archlinux.org
Thu Jan 17 14:24:26 UTC 2019

Someone sent me an off-list reply. I have forwarded it as it provides some
additional information.

----- Forwarded message from Alexander Shpilkin <ashpilkin at gmail.com> -----

Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2019 17:09:54 +0300
From: Alexander Shpilkin <ashpilkin at gmail.com>
To: Morten Linderud <foxboron at archlinux.org>
Subject: Re: [arch-dev-public] Mongodb and SSPL
User-Agent: alot/0.7

[I originally wrote this as a message to the list without realizing I 
can’t post there; feel free to send it wherever.]

TL;DR: There’s enough FUD in the SSPL to make it unclear whether Mongo 
can, in fact, be distributed or not.

Quoting Morten Linderud <foxboron at archlinux.org> (2019-01-16 15:02:55)
> As probably some of you have realized, there is a discussion regarding 
> mongodb and the relicense from AGPLv3 to SSPLv1. [...]
> Obviously, we don't care about the license being free nor OSI
> compliant. We only  care if we are allowed to redistribute or not.
> [...]
> There is nothing in the SSPLv1 license text that prohibits us from 
> distributing mongodb.

I feel I should point out here that there’s uncertainty on part of both 
[debian-legal participants][1] and [Debian FTP masters][2] as to 
whether the distribution of binaries falls under the service 
restrictions.  If it does, this would mean all software on the mirrors 
would need to be SSPL-compatible (in particular, non-GPL), which 
_would_ prohibit us.

The SSPL authors [were asked][3] for their stance on this question, but 
do not appear to have answered.  I think this is troubling in itself.

> There are however special requirements in the license we have to abide 
> if we want to distribute modified source code.
> Currently the PKGBUILD does a few sed's in the source to build it. [...]

Note that the service restrictions (which are different from 
distribution restrictions) are applicable to both modified and 
unmodified versions; in fact, the original authors [declare][4] this to 
be among the design goals of the SSPL.

[1]: https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2018/10/msg00008.html
[2]: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=915537#50
[3]: http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-October/003654.html
[4]: http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-October/003603.html

Alex Shpilkin

----- End forwarded message -----

Morten Linderud
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