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Re: Python 1.6 released and GPL incompatible

On Wed, Sep 06, 2000 at 11:37:17AM -0700, Sean 'Shaleh' Perry wrote:
> > 1) Ignore Python 1.6 and up, as long as the license is not compatible
> >    with the GPL. That's probably the easiest way to go, but is it
> >    justified ? Looks like a deliberate discrimination against a
> >    DFSG-free license, only because it's not GPL compatible.

i'd say it's justified because to do otherwise would cause significant
disruption to the debian project - we aren't under any obligation to
package free software just because it exists. the selection criterion
are, and always have been: a) is it DFSG free?, b) are we allowed to
distribute it?, and c) could someone be bothered doing the work to
package it?

in other words, python is Gregor's package - if he doesn't want to
package 1.6 then he doesn't have to.

if that's what he decides, then any other debian developer can choose to
make python 1.6 packages (as long as they don't bugger up his packages).

if nobody chooses to package python 1.6, then it's not in our
distribution. no problem.

if it was up to me, i'd just ignore the new versions of python until
they have a license which is compatible with the GPL. anything else
is going to be too much trouble. but it's not my package, and not my

> > 2) Include both Python 1.5.2 and 1.6 in woody/main. The 1.6 packages
> >    would not satisfy the dependencies of existing packages; any maintainer
> >    who'd make a package depend on Python 1.6 would have to make sure that
> >    its license is compatible with the Python 1.6 license.
> I think that we are going to see more and more cases of GPL
> "incompatibilities" as time goes on.  

we have perfectly good free software licenses already - we have the
GPL for those who believe "once free, always free", and we have the
no-advertising-clause BSD and X11 licenses for those who don't care if
their free software is made proprietary.

there really is no need for any other free software licenses.

there certainly is no need, indeed a compelling anti-need, for new
licenses which are incompatible with any or all of these standard free
software licenses.

this proliferation of new free software licenses (mostly by
companies who want the significant PR benefits of jumping on the
open-source/free-software bandwagon, but without actually seriously
committing to it) is causing significant damage. this practice has to be
resisted at every turn.

> I am disappointed that RMS is fighting over something as trivial as
> a company asking that legal issues be settled in their home state
> (country).  This is common practice.

it's far from trivial. it's an extra restriction in the license, and ANY
extra restriction is incompatible with the GPL, regardless of what it
is. additional permissions are fine, additional restrictions are not.

another significant issue is that the US state of Virginia has adopted
the DMCA, so accepting that jurisdiction means accepting all of the
onerous terms allowed (and enforced) by the DCMA.


craig sanders

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