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Aladdin Ghostscript



Bruce, what do you think of the following? It has to do with including the
latest Aladdin Ghostscript with debian... The first was my inquiry, the
second was the response.

Would you like to respond personally, or go through me? If it turns out
positively, I will undertake to debianize the ghostscript system.

-Andrew. <adfernan@cnd.mcgill.ca>

===========================8<---------------------------------------------
>From adfernan Thu Feb  7 03:52:36 2036
To: ghost@aladdin.com
Subject: CDROM license
Status: RO


Hello, I have a question regarding the Aladdin Ghostscript Public License.

It seems that you allow distribution on CDROM as long as (a) the sources
are distributed verbatim with the program and (b) the cdrom is a freely
redistributable for non-commercial use software compendium. Is this correct?

If so, I am requesting clarification regarding part (a). I am making this 
inquiry on behalf of the GNU/Debian Linux developer network. You may not
be aware that the "Debian" distribution of Linux is the FSF's "official"
distribution of linux. It was created to ease the general pain of
having to constantly incrementally upgrade the system software, and it does
this by a generalized "package" system. Executables, documentation, copyright
information, and configuration files are packaged up into a format that
allows for quick and easy installation, setup, and possibly for eventual
removal and/or upgrading.

As part of the GNU philosophy, Source code for everything *must* be available
with a generalized makefile that can build the binary distribution and
"package" it, or build the sourcefile distribution (a standard tar.gz of the
directory). 

Here is the problem. Does adding the makefile and a few information files
constitute a violation of the AGPL? Quite literally, the modifications to the
GS sources would be nothing more than adding a set of configuration files
to the GS distribution. This can even be done in a very clear manner, such as
having the Debian-specific files in the current directory and the pristene
GS sources in a subdirectory. 

Just to make it clear: binaries and the sources to build those binaries would
be distributed together on a cdrom that contained (as far as I know, and this
can be verified) only freely-redistributable-for-non-commercial use software.

Can I have your comments on this?

Thank you,
-Andrew D. Fernandes <adfernan@cnd.mcgill.ca>

=========================================8<---------------------------------
>From ghost@cs.wisc.edu Tue Oct 24 17:40:44 1995
Return-Path: ghost@cs.wisc.edu
Received: from sun13.cs.wisc.edu (sun13.cs.wisc.edu [128.105.40.13]) by hank.cnd.mcgill.ca (8.6.9/8.6.9) with SMTP id RAA12286 for <adfernan@cnd.mcgill.ca>; Tue, 24 Oct 1995 17:40:44 -0400
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 95 16:38:42 -0500
Message-Id: <9510242138.AA04127@sun13.cs.wisc.edu>
Received: by sun13.cs.wisc.edu; Tue, 24 Oct 95 16:38:42 -0500
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@cs.wisc.edu>
To: adfernan@cnd.mcgill.ca
In-Reply-To: <203602070852.DAA00404@mines.cnd.mcgill.ca>
	(adfernan@cnd.mcgill.ca)
Subject: Re: CDROM license
Status: RO

Hello.

Thanks for your inquiry.

I'm sure you appreciate that the AGFPL is *not* the GNU License, and that I
don't subscribe to the GNU approach unqualifiedly.  The AGFPL deliberately
draws the line for free distribution in a slightly more restrictive place
than the GPL.

> It seems that you allow distribution on CDROM as long as (a) the sources
> are distributed verbatim with the program and (b) the cdrom is a freely
> redistributable for non-commercial use software compendium. Is this correct?

Yes.  (That's just a paraphrase from the AGFPL.)

> Here is the problem. Does adding the makefile and a few information files
> constitute a violation of the AGPL?

No.  In general, I don't consider *addition* of files to violate the
"verbatim" nature of the distribution, especially if, as you propose, the
Debian-specific files are put in a separate directory.

As it happens, I have already been considering switching from the Yggdrasil
to the Debian Linux distribution for my own use.  Yggdrasil insists on
GNU-licensing, so they refuse to include Aladdin Ghostscript on their
CD-ROMs (and also refuse to include kermit), and I have also been less than
impressed with the quality of some of the less central code (e.g., UUCP).
Would it be possible for me to get a free copy of the Debian distribution
on the basis of my Ghostscript work?

				L. Peter Deutsch
				ghost@aladdin.com


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