At 3:12 PM -0700 2000/5/2, Jordan K. Hubbard wrote:

>  Yes, this was brought up by the sleepycat people themselves over a
>  year ago and was part of a long discussion thread involving Keith
>  Bostic and a host of FreeBSD developers.  We were unable to reach such
>  an agreement or get any such modification of the license and so we
>  elected to remain with DB 1.85 at that time.

        I've also been discussing these issues privately with Keith, and 
from what I've read on the list plus what I've received from him in 
private, I understand that he made an offer to modify the license and 
allow the incorporation of newer versions in FreeBSD[0], specifically:

                        FreeBSD could include the
                Berkeley DB package, and commercial companies would only have
                to separately license Berkeley DB if they used it outside of
                the functionality provided by FreeBSD, that is, FreeBSD can use
                DB, and companies that ship FreeBSD code can use DB as long as
                they only use it in the same ways that FreeBSD uses it.

        IANAL, nor do I have any first-hand knowledge of the previous 
discussions on this topic.  However, it would seem to me that this 
modification to the license into something more akin to the LGPL 
should largely solve that issue.

        I also mentioned the technical issues that I've seen raised on 
the list (specifically, the size of the newer versions of the library 
and the unwillingness/lack of interest in incorporating a 
significantly larger version of Berkeley DB within libc).  His 
response was:

                The footprint isn't that much bigger when only the access
                methods are used.  Regardless, with shared libraries, who

                The "new feature" it offers is that it doesn't drop core. :-)

        I brought up the idea that perhaps additional compile-time 
options could be used so that the linked in version of the libraries 
would only have the necessary code for the "access methods", and the 
rest of the code simply wouldn't be present in the standard FreeBSD 
binary as a result of #ifdef's sprinkled throughout the code. 
Therefore you wouldn't be able to violate the terms of the license, 
unless you went out of your way to build your own fully-functional 
version of Berkeley DB, such as using the port.

        However, my impression was that he did not consider this to be a 
feasible idea.

>  There have been no changes to the license or any apparant willingness
>  on Sleepycat's part to modify it in the ensuing 12 months.

        Whether or not there has been a shift from previous positions on 
this subject, I am not qualified to say.

        However, it seems to me that Keith has apparently addressed the 
issues he can in such a way that it would be compatible with the aims 
and goals of the FreeBSD Project, although it would also require work 
from this side -- obviously someone would have to go through the code 
and make the necessary changes as to which set of library calls we'd 
be using.

        The real shame in all this is that I fear that many future 
FreeBSD users will get the wrong impression of Berkeley DB, simply 
because their only exposure to it will be through the system-supplied 
db 1.85 routines.  In addition, Linux users appear to be able to get 
the full benefit of more modern versions of Berkeley DB being 
incorporated by default, which would seem to leave us at a 

        However, I get the feeling that there is more to this issue than 
I have learned so far, or am likely to ever learn.

        As far as I'm concerned, I think this is going to be my last post 
on this subject.

        The appropriate people have been informed (or reminded yet once 
again) of the situation, and are going to get together and work 
towards getting this issue resolved or not, and either way there's 
not really anything more I can say or do on this subject that could 
potentially be considered to be useful. [1]

[0] Yes, I checked with him first to confirm that I may directly 
quote him.  ;-)
[1] That's assuming that I have done or said anything useful on this 
subject.  ;-(

   These are my opinions -- not to be taken as official Skynet policy
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