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From: Sean Parent (sparent_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-12-03 20:30:25

on 12/3/02 1:44 PM, Terje Slettebø at tslettebo_at_[hidden] wrote:

> Is Adobe asking for more from a non-profit community like Boost, than they
> are willing to give themselves, for software they sell? This license is for
> the free Acrobat Reader, but I doubt the commercial versions are much
> different in this respect. In any case, Boost is free, as well. The above
> license also has an "AS IS" clause.

As I said - we aren't asking for any more (but our lawyers will take as much
as they can get).

> Isn't the case more one of how much they can depend on support and
> development (such as a company or community backing something up), rather
> than guarantees about the software being made?

No - the concern from legal is about exposure. If we include sources from
boost, they contain an "AS IS" clause and contains IP encumbered material
then we're the ones that get nailed.

You'd be surprised. I've reviewed code that was taken verbatim from a GPL
code base with a contractors copyright notice slapped on the top (and the
GPL notice removed); code that has been copied from journals describing
patented algorithms; fielded the call from an irate individual that claimed
we had taken his code, which he explicitly placed in the public domain, and
we were selling it commercially (he was confused as to the difference
between public domain and GPL type licenses) - it didn't matter because we
didn't use his code anyway; and I've shipped off boxes of software to
compensate an individual or two for their code finding its way into one of
our products inadvertently. We do legal audits of all materials included on
all of our SKUs - that's a lot of material including pictures, fonts,
plug-ins, tutorials... not to mention the few million lines of code in the
actual product.

With sources provided we expect we'll be doing our own maintenance - and
determining the general quality of a code base isn't difficult. Adobe is a
large software company - and we've been through a fair amount of litigation.
Partially because of that, and partially because of the desire not to repeat
the mistakes of PARC (a large number of our researches our out of XEROX -
including the company founders) we have a _very_ conservative stance towards
both using and contributing to open source efforts. I've been making an
ongoing effort to make it easier for us to both use and contribute to the
open source community.

My most notable success to date (that's externally visible) has been getting
the XMP SDK available under a fairly non-restrictive license:


Adobe had a previous open source effort started by one of my co-workers:


Unfortunately he fell ill and the site hasn't been maintained. I've been
trying to find resources within the company to resurrect this effort - but
in the current economic climate that's been tough.

Sean Parent
Sr. Computer Scientist II
Advanced Technology Group
Adobe Systems Incorporated

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