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From: (Charles M. Hannum)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.386bsd.misc
Subject: Legal status of NetBSD
Date: 24 Jul 1994 06:56:05 GMT
Organization: MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab
Lines: 46
Message-ID: <>

I've just reviewed this with Chris Demetriou, who actually talked with
USL, and I believe it's safe for me to say the following.

Our agreement with USL is as follows.  Chris has a signed letter from
USL to this effect, but the following text is not an exact quote.

1) We must cease distribution of a certain list of files from Net/2
and files derived from them by July 31, 1994.  [These files have
either been replaced with versions from 4.4-Lite, have been rewritten,
or were simply not in our source tree anyway.]

2) Further distribution of the aforementioned files before July 31,
1994 must include a USL copyright notice, as well as prominent notice
of the copyright and a list of restricted files in the `release
documents'.  It was specified that NetBSD-current did not count as a
`release' for purposes of the latter restriction regarding `release
documents'.  This does not apply to already packaged releases, though
we must cease distribution of those releases by July 31, 1994.  [These
notices were added to our source tree, and thus to the code we were
actively distributing, very soon after the agreement arrived.]

3) Distribution of another list of files before or after July 31, 1994
is not restricted, but they must include a USL copyright notice.
[Again, these notices were added to our source tree.  At least one of
these files was actually rewritten, derived from another version to
which this does not apply.]

4) There were no other restrictions.

Thus, as you can infer for yourself, NetBSD 1.0 is not encumbered by

(Now, I'd like to request that all of the people who had the nerve to
publicly rant about how `unclean' NetBSD is, GO AWAY.  And I mean this
in the nicest way I can, considering how much of my time has been
wasted in this absolutely stupid and useless thread, and considering
how rude and insulting the statements and insinuations about us have

- Charles Hannum
  NetBSD group
  Working ports: i386, hp300, amiga, sun4c, mac68k, pc532, da30.
  In progress: sun3, pmax, vax, sun4m.

From: (Scott B. Anderson)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.386bsd.misc
Subject: Re: Legal status of NetBSD
Date: 28 Jul 1994 16:59:48 -0500
Organization: The Carroll College InterNet News site
Lines: 19
Message-ID: <3199ok$>
References: <> 
<310j8t$> <310u0n$>
NNTP-Posting-Host: (Bill Bogstad) writes:

>claims which would at least allow them to reach a trial.  I believe that the
>case between BSD and USL (or BSDI and USL) were never actually tried so there
>is no legal precedent here.  It's not even clear to me if the final legal
>agreements reached are even available to the public.  Given that neither

>				A happy Linux user,
>				Bill Bogstad

Novell (USG) and BSDI *DID* go to court, the ruling (uncontested
by either side) was that BSDI had to use BSD 4.4lite code and
no code which ATT owned, just like the NetBSD agreement, only on
a different time table.  No fines or damages were awarded, and BSDI
plans on a Thanksgiving (USA) release for its next version.

Scott Anderson

Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd,comp.os.386bsd.misc
From: (Richard Tobin)
Subject: Re: Legal status of NetBSD
Message-ID: <>
Organization: HCRC, University of Edinburgh
References: <310j8t$> <310u0n$> 
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 1994 11:24:39 GMT
Lines: 39

In article <3199ok$> (Scott B. Anderson) 
>Novell (USG) and BSDI *DID* go to court, the ruling (uncontested
>by either side) was ...

How many times do I have to say this?

*There was no ruling.*

The case was settled out-of-court by an agreement between the parties.

>BSDI had to use BSD 4.4lite code and no code which ATT owned

BSDI *agreed* to switch to 4.4-lite, which they had planned to do

There has been no court ruling on USL's claim.  The closest was the
judge's refusal to grant USL a preliminary injunction preventing BSDI
from distributing their system, indicating that USL had not shown
that there was a "reasonable probability of eventual success" for
their claim.

*My interpretation* of the settlement is that USL saw that they would
lose the case (and maybe even have it declared that they had no
copyright in 32V), but could have dragged it out indefinitely which
would have had bad consequences for BSDI.  As a face-saving measure
they agreed to drop the case immediately in return for insignificant
concessions from BSDI.  The outcome was an almost complete victory for

If you want to verify the facts, you can get the relevant documents
by anonymous ftp from in /pub/usl-vs-bsd, or
by WWW from http://macbeth.cogsci/pub/usl-vs-bsd.

-- Richard
Richard Tobin, HCRC, Edinburgh University       

Ooooh!  I didn't know we had a king.  I thought we were an
autonomous collective.

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