InterBase Public License Annotations

By: Borland Developer Support

Abstract: The annotations are merely a good faith effort to explain the InterBase Public License (IPL) in simpler language.
These annotations are based on the Annotations to the Mozilla Public License, Version 1.0. Note that these annotations are not the InterBase Public License (IPL). These annotations are not a legal document, or legal advice. If you need to know exactly what the license requires, you need to read and understand the license itself; if you need legal advice, you need to talk to a lawyer. The annotations are merely a good faith effort to explain the license in simpler language.

"Covered Code"
This means any software or code that is covered by this License.

"Source Code" vs "Executable"
This license makes a distinction between covered Source Code, and the binary executable products that can be made from it. It defines all possible forms of the InterBase code as either one or the other. They have different restrictions and requirements placed on their use and distribution.

"Initial Developer"
In the IPL, it is whomever contributes code and places it under the IPL.

"Larger Work"
This is the definition that allows you, provided that you have taken the proper care in your coding, to combine IPL covered code with other code -- such as code governed by a proprietary license -- to make a product.

This is a very important definition, as it specifies precisely what code you write must be made public and what you can keep.

If you change anything within one of the files contained in the Source Code, that is a Modification, and it must be made publicly available in source code form.
If you take code out of one of the files contained in the Source Code and place it in a new file, whether you add new code or not, that is a Modification, and it must be made publicly available in source code form.
If you rename a file or combine two or more files contained in the Source Code, that is a Modification, and it must be made publicly available in source code form.
However, if you add a new file that does not contain any of the Original Code or subsequent Modified code, it is not a Modification, and need not be made publicly available in source code form. This remains true even if the new file is called or referenced by changes you made in the Source Code, though those changes do constitute a Modification and must be made publicly available in source code form. Having said this, though, Netscape believes that it is in the interest of all who develop on the InterBase code base to contribute their changes back to the development community. In this way, they will reap the benefits of distributed development.

This definition also refers only to the Modifications themselves, not the complete file as modified. Later in the License, we require that the Source Code to Modifications be made available, and this way a developer need only post his changes to the Source, not the entire source in changed form. This should cut down on the need for quite a bit of FTP space.

"Original Code"
In this case, it is the InterBase 6.0 code released by Borland on July 25, 2000. In the case of the IPL used in the future, this definition will apply to code released by other Developers. This definition makes clear that a Modification is not Original code.

This definition of You allows either an individual or an organization to use code covered by these licenses.

"Source Code License"
This is the part of the License in which it is spelled out precisely what permissions the contributors to the Source Code are granting.

"Initial Developer Grant" and "Contributor Grant"
section (b)
This section is derived from the basic principles below.

  1. It is not OK for someone to create a Modification for which he or she has a patent, make the Modification available free of charge as required under the License, and then come back and try to charge everyone for the patent rights.
  2. On the other hand, the patent rights of Contributors should be protected in a manner consistent with the goal of the License.

"Availability of Source Code"
This provision is intended to ensure availability of code, while minimizing the burden on each Contributor. It is based on the principle of ``code follows the executable'' that is found in the GPL. It does not require that you return Modifications to Borland or any other named organization. However, you may do so if you choose, and we hope that you wish to participate in the InterBase development community.

"Third Party Claims"
We considered whether we should prohibit the use of any functionality where a contested intellectual property claim exists. But because these claims are often in contention, or unclear, or limited in their geographical scope so that they do not apply in some areas, we decided that this would limit the range of products that could be created from the InterBase code too severely. Instead, we decided that contested intellectual property claims should be clearly disclosed so that each Developer understands to the greatest extent possible the intellectual property issues surrounding the Source Code. This will help them to choose, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not they are interested enough in using the functionality to deal with the rights issues that surround that functionality.

"Contributor APIs"
This section is designed to protect Developers using code covered by the IPL against stealthy patent attacks.

"Required Notices"
This section is intended to allow Contributors to receive proper recognition for their contributions and to provide additional value-added services as long as they take the appropriate precautions to protect other Contributors from liability associated with such services.

"Distribution of Executable Versions"
The goal of the IPL is to encourage as much innovation as possible. We anticipate that people will take the code licensed under the IPL and combine it with code developed or licensed under other terms. We also anticipate that the combined code will be licensed under a variety of terms, including different payment terms, support terms and use restrictions. Borland does not wish to dictate the terms under which any such executables will be available. The IPL is designed to make sure that the Source Code Modifications are freely available. After that, the creator of a Larger Work is free to license the Executable of the work as he or she sees fit.

"Inability to Comply Due to Statute or Regulation"
This section was included so that the license could allow for the inclusion in the Source Code of regulated software such as cryptographic code which may have legal restrictions placed on its broad and public distribution.

"Versions of the License"
We realize that we are not perfect and may not have thought of all possible contentious situations that may arise because of this License. This clause give us the opportunity to address problems that may arise in the future.

"Effect of New Versions"
This clause guarantees that Borland will never be able to take away rights that you have under the version of the license under which your code or modifications were created.

"Derivative Works"
If someone wants to make a new license based on the IPL, they need to distinguish their license from ours to avoid unnecessary confusion.

Required Legalese
These last sections of the License are the inevitable legal statements. Where they are in CAPS, we are not shouting, but are required to write these sections in capital letters by law.

"Responsibility for Claims"
This section is designed to spread the burden of intellectual property claims made on InterBase based code over the group of developers responsible for distributing copies of covered code that contain the offense that leads to the claim.

We believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of open source development, but not everyone does. Some people or groups may try to take advantage of the work of open source development through claims of patent infringement. This is unfortunate, but it is also reality. We suggest that you be aware of the intellectual property implications of what you are working on to protect yourself and others from falling afoul of someone else's patent.

We may remove some functionality for patented inventions which Borland may not have the right to distribute in Source Code form at this time.

"InterBase and logo"
In our hurry to release the InterBase code, we may have missed something. All this section says is that if you come across something that we've missed, that doesn't give you the rights to use our trademarks. It doesn't require you to do our work for us. This section is designed to protect us from our screw ups, not to screw you up.

"Alternative Licensing"
This is included because Borland may already have certain source code licenses in place whose terms differ from those of this IPL and these other licenses may not require the license back of code.

"Exhibit A"
This is the text that you must include in all files that are covered by the IPL.

Published on: 7/25/2000 12:00:00 AM

Server Response from: ETNASC03

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