brian moore bem at
Fri Jan 22 20:13:36 CET 1999

On Fri, Jan 22, 1999 at 08:57:45PM -0500, Stainless Steel Rat wrote:
> "JAE" == Juergen A Erhard <jae at> writes:
> JAE> I regard idea.c and rsa.c as free...
> IDEA's use and distribution are restricted by Ascom Systec, Limited.  RSA's
> use and distribution are restricted by RSADSI.  Commercial use of either
> requires a license from Ascom Systec, Ltd. and RSADSI respectively.  The
> licenses for both are much more restrictive than the GPL.
> They are anything but free in the eyes of the FSF.

And IDEA's restrictions are worldwide.

They are certainly less anal about things than RSADSI, but their license
is still a no-go with Free Software¹.  To quote: "whenever you or your
company sells any products including the IDEA algorithm ... it needs a
license granted by Ascom".  That would include even Debian CD's sold in
Europe.   (That's why Werner's got it away from the proper distribution:
he's not selling it, so he's okay.  But it shouldn't be distributed for
a fee at all.)  The wrong meaning of 'Free Software', since it's not
about freedom, but price.

(The legalese is at if you
want to read it.  It's actually quite clear for legalese, and there's no
way it would work with Free Software.)

Come Sept 20 2000, rsa.c should go into the release (when the "you can
only use our code in the US" rules go away).  IDEA expires in
2010-2011 (and possibly much later in Japan).  At that point, 128 bit
ciphers will be a relic as the AES winner  should be well entrenched.

¹  Yes, I probably should say 'Open Source', but I hate that term and
   agree with RMS on most things, so I make sure I capitalize things to
   make it clear. :)

Brian Moore                       | "The Zen nature of a spammer resembles
      Sysadmin, C/Perl Hacker     |  a cockroach, except that the cockroach
      Usenet Vandal               |  is higher up on the evolutionary chain."
      Netscum, Bane of Elves.                 Peter Olson, Delphi Postmaster

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