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Re: Is XEmacs nonfree?

On Thu, Sep 30, 1999 at 12:54:32AM +0000, David Coe was heard to say:
[quoting RMS]
>   But in another sense it is not GNU software, because we can't use
>   XEmacs in the GNU system: using it would mean paying a price in
>   terms of our ability to enforce the GPL. Some of the people who have
>   worked on XEmacs have not provided, and have not asked other
>   contributors to provide, the legal papers to help us enforce the
>   GPL. I have managed to get legal papers for some parts myself, but
>   most of the XEmacs developers have not helped me get them.
>   ...
>   But this is worse than competition--it is unfair competition. The
>   XEmacs developers can and do copy code they like from Emacs. If I
>   could copy the code I like from XEmacs in the same way, at least the
>   rivalry would be fair. But I can't do that't, because substantial
>   parts of XEmacs don't have legal papers, or don't have known
>   authors.
>   ...
> Is that still an accurate description of the legal status (from 
> FSF's perspective) of XEmacs, and if so, shouldn't we move it to
> non-free?

  It looks to me like he's not concerned with the free-ness of the XEmacs
code, but rather with the fact that it hasn't had its copyright assigned to
the FSF.  He doesn't want to include non-FSF-copyrighted code in the main
Emacs branch, as I understand.  I guess that would keep the FSF from defending
the copyright it in court. (?)  Anyway, he seems to think so. :-/


  "I've struggled with reality for thirty-five years, but I'm glad to say that
   I finally won."
     -- _Harvey_

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