VIAs CLEXF code is not free.

The source code that VIA distributes from its Open Source Developer Application Form (http://www.viaarena.com/default.aspx?PageID=151) does not meet the criteria of the Open Source Definition. (http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php)

Releases CLEXF40040 and CLEXF40047 contain several files with the following license:
"This PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE contains proprietary information of both S3 Graphics, Inc. (S3G) & VIA Technologies, Inc. (VIA); Contents of this file shall not be disclosed to any 3rd party, copied or duplicated in any form, in whole or in part without prior written consent of S3G & VIA.

THIS SOURCE CODE & ANY RELATED DOCUMENTATION (COLLECTIVELY SOFTWARE) ARE PROVIDED AS IS, WITH ALL FAULTS, & WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. S3G & VIA DISCLAIM ALL EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES. USER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT PARTIES FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING FROM USE OF SOFTWARE OR ITS DERIVATIVE, INCLUDING, W/O LIMITATION, LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS. USER WHOLLY ASSUMES ALL RISK ARISING FROM USE & PERFORMANCE OF SOFTWARE."

There is also one file with a Focus Systems copyright, reserving all rights.

This is a typical VIA oversight.

Openly advertising this code as Open Source probably does satisfy the "prior written consent" condition. Yet, in spite of the open source definition, the VIA request form states that source will only be made available to what VIA deems "appropriate open source developers", and VIA has been known to ignore requests.

Previous attempts (unrelated to this licensing issue) to get into direct contact with VIA Technologies resulted in resounding silence. I will not try that route now (even though it is "just an oversight") as I expect the same treatment this time round.

The unichrome CVS module that held VIAs own "open source" code has been purged and its replacement will not feature the contaminated files.

There are no further consequences.

Luc Verhaegen,
The Unichrome Project (http://unichrome.sourceforge.net)

For an explanation of VIA's view of its relationship with the open source community please see the epiacenter interview :
http://www.epiacenter.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=53&page=3

Posted by Luc Verhaegen 2005-01-14