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Bug#1883: compress" missing?

Bruce Perens:
> I was sort of hoping that compress would be replaced by "gzip" throughout
> the world, and thus we would not have to deal with its hassles.

That would be the case if gzip was in the public domain, but it is under
the GPL which may be too restrictive for commercial UNIX vendors...

Besides, someone had to use compress to produce gzip-1.2.4.tar.Z :-).

> I don't think anyone would object to your distributing certain
> contributed packages from outside the US. If you'd like to do that for
> compress, please package it up and do so. After the patent matter, the
> secondary factor is availability of a maintainer for the package.

It needs not be distributed from outside the US (it's not crypto stuff),
anyone can get it from Slackware or FreeBSD (ftp.cdrom.com for example).

compress is very old and stable, so it shouldn't be much problem to
maintain it...  But that was not my point.  I think in this case we
should ignore the patent issue like everyone else does (other Linux
distributions, FreeBSD, commercial UNIX vendors).  I can maintain
compress if you agree to put it in the standard distribution.

People who buy a CD often don't have Internet access (so they can't
just download a few missing "non-free" packages) and they expect
a reasonably complete system.  If the system is missing basic commands
like compress, next time they will buy Slackware or FreeBSD instead...

It is not possible to build a completely "free" system - as you know,
the bin86 package is "for personal use only" (or some such), and it
is essential to build the kernel.  I think compress should be another
such exception - it is an essential package, like gzip.


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