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Re: How to open-source a program?

Ole Streicher <debian-devel@liska.ath.cx> wrote:
> Has anyone already went through such an exercise and could assist me
> in writing a nice E-mail? Or are there better ways to proceed?

I have assisted people in doing this sort of thing a few times.  It
sounds like the author is on board with releasing the code, which is
crucial.  It would be best if the author started the ball rolling, but
lets see what we can do.

Looking at


it looks like Greg Fahlman would be the person to contact.  Fahlman
may forward you to someone else.  I have attached a sample letter.
Use as much or as little as you like.  You need to let Peter Stetson
look at your letter before you send it.  Without his complete support
you are unlikely to succeed.

Walter Landry

Subject: Distributing Daophot through Debian

Dear Dr. Fahlman,

I am a developer for Debian, a free Linux distribution.  Debian
includes more than 37500 packages, precompiled software bundled up in
a nice format that makes it easy to install.  I would like to
distribute a copy of the Daophot software through Debian.  Daophot is
an important piece of software, used by astronomers around the world.


Currently, to obtain Daophot, users must sign a non-disclosure
agreement that prohibits further redistribution.


I have contacted Peter Stetson, the author of Daophot.  He said that,
while he is willing to distribute Daophot under more permissive terms,
he is obligated to follow any restrictions set down by the National
Research Council of Canada.  So this is why I am sending a letter to

Ideally, Daophot would be distributed under a free or open source
license.  The National Research Council of Canada, through the
Canadian Astronomy Data Centre, already distributes a number of pieces
of astronomical software freely.


Please let me know if it will be possible to modify the distribution
terms for Daophot.  If you are not the right person to contact, I
would appreciate it if you could direct me to the right person.

Thank you,
Ole Streicher

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