Victoria Mah wrote:


I am an attorney at Cisco Systems, Inc. and have been asked to evaluate,
from a legal perspective, obligations concerning usage of your code and
whether making a donation would be appropriate.

OK. I'm pretty sure that making a donation to FreeBSD would not be inappropriate, at least.

[ ... ]
I am confused why the GPL and LGPL licenses are posted at your site and
whether there are restrictions or obligations imposed, more than "Do not
claim that you wrote this." and "Do not sue us if it breaks."  Is all of
the code available from your site licensed under the freeBSD copyright
or some software available under the GPL or LGPL license?

Some of the software that "comes with" FreeBSD is under the GPL or LGPL, most notably the compiler toolchain (gcc, gdb, etc). Questions about the GPL should be directed to [EMAIL PROTECTED], for GPLed software (which is generally located under /usr/src/gnu):

1-sec% ls /usr/src
COPYRIGHT               etc/                    release/
CVS/                    games/                  sbin/
Makefile                gnu/                    secure/
Makefile.inc1           include/                share/
Makefile.upgrade        kerberos5/              sys/
README                  kerberosIV/             tools/
UPDATING                lib/                    usr.bin/
bin/                    libexec/                usr.sbin/
contrib/                make.conf
crypto/                 nohup.out

The rest of the FreeBSD software, contained in the other parts of /usr/src (such as the FreeBSD kernel and most of the "BSD userland" utilities) are generally under the "modified BSD license". However, I'd imagine that kerberos is under the MIT license, say, and there are undoubtedly other exceptions.

It's a very open license without other restrictions or obligations.

Also, the freeBSD copyright seems directed toward copyright but silent
toward patent rights and trade secrets.  Is this intentional?

The number of people who have written code either under a BSD-style copyright, or for the FreeBSD project specificly, is a fairly large and diverse group of people. If you generalize broadly over a large enough group, you will find exceptions to almost any statement, but:

Yes, they intended to publish their software under an open source license.
No, not all of them intended to say nothing about patent rights or trade secrets.


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