[quagga-dev 12208] Re: Babel differences (was Re: [PATCH 2/2] HACKING: Quagga is a GPL project)

Paul Jakma paul at jakma.org
Thu Apr 30 08:27:43 BST 2015

On Wed, 29 Apr 2015, Martin Winter wrote:

> On Apr 29, 2015, at 4:09 AM, Paul Jakma <paul at jakma.org> wrote:
>> On Wed, 29 Apr 2015, Paul Jakma wrote:
>>> that babeld/ derives from libzebra. More recently I have had informal 
>>> legal advice that re-iterates that at least some of the files in 
>>> babeld/ must have GPL notices, e.g. files such as babel_zebra.c.
>> Oh, that answer was in the context of "Is it safe for Quagga to 
>> distribute this with only an MIT/X11 licence notice or should it have a 
>> GPL notice too?" as the question.
> Unfortunately, this seems to be not that clear cut.
> The first question is if this forces Babel (as the source) under GPL. 
> And there is where we got different legal advice. I’m not saying that 
> the legal advice from the past ws wrong, but that the lawyers seem to 
> disagree. It's’s sad if even lawyers disagree. But they if they would 
> agree they would put themselves out of business… (The 2nd question would 
> then be if babel needs a GPL notice as well)

Well, possibly you were asking a different question to me. ;)

The question I'm interested in is:

   "What is the safe thing for Quagga to do, that ensures we meet all our
    licence obligations".

I think the answer to this wrt babeld is pretty clear-cut, and you'll get 
the same answer from most lawyers. Least, I've gotten what seems to be the 
same answer 2/2 times.

I find it hard to understand why the discussion doesn't end there.

You could also ask:

   "We want to distribute this code without GPL notices, is that OK?"

And here, yes, you could get different answers. Note that if one gets "No, 
it's not OK" from one, that then going lawyer-shopping for the desired 
answer may be a warning sign. ;)

Further, is that lawyer advising in the interests of Quagga or someone 

> Personally, I have no clue who is right and even the lawyers seem to 
> disagree. Currently it seems it depends on whose lawyer you trust.

Well, I trust the solicitor I got my advice from. I instructed them to 
advise me in the interests of Quagga. I tried to frame the query as 
neutrally as possible and state both sides (though, of course I am biased) 
- you've read the query - and they had no apriori knowledge of the 

> So the challenge is on how to pick a lawyer to trust or how to get 
> lawyers to agree (Maybe some of the question to the lawyer were not 
> clear enough and that’s why there were different answers?)

I don't see the challenge.

The Quagga maintainers got advice from SFLC in 2012 and discussed it quite 
a bit. I don't have any reason to doubt that advice or to think we 
interpreted it incorrectly, given other legal advice I've had.

We followed a reasonable process. We tried to do what was best and right 
for _everyone_.

That one person who "doesn't care" about licensing is annoyed by that is 
unfortunate, and I'm sorry about that. Again, I'm sure we'd accommodate 
them as much as possible, within the constraints we have from the legal 
advice that we have before us.

Paul Jakma	paul at jakma.org	@pjakma	Key ID: 64A2FF6A
Rule the Empire through force.
 		-- Shogun Tokugawa

More information about the Quagga-dev mailing list