Geant4 Licence and binary distributability

Joshua Root jmr at
Mon Jul 8 05:14:35 PDT 2013

On 2013-7-8 18:39 , Mojca Miklavec wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 7, 2013 at 11:22 PM, Joshua Root wrote:
>> Be careful not to conflate "free", "permissive", and "distributable".
> Like Ryan said: I have no idea what each term means and I'm not an
> expert (and don't want to be).

Getting this stuff wrong potentially causes us to break the law. You
don't have to be a legal expert, and I'm certainly not one, but you do
need to at least read and understand the software's license, and make
some effort to think through its implications, before you set the
license field in a portfile.

"Free" has no special meaning for us and is kind of a fuzzy term in
general use. "Distributable" simply means that we are allowed to
distribute binaries. That's not used in the license field, because
whether we can distribute a port depends on its dependencies' licenses
as well as the port's own.

"Permissive" for us roughly means a license that has no more
restrictions than the MIT/X11, (new) BSD, or zlib licenses. Because it's
a general category rather than a specific license, it shouldn't be used
for any license that conflicts with another license, since those
conflicts will be specific to that one license and not the entire category.

>> This is certainly not as permissive as MIT or BSD, and it looks to me
>> like it would conflict with the GPL. Debian agrees:
> So in short: Should I use one of those terms (say, "distributable", if
> permissive is not appropriate) or should MacPorts core know about the
> Geant licence?

Not sure. At worst you could probably call it Restrictive/Distributable.

- Josh

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