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Re: Bug#597202: ITP: kstars-data-extra-tycho2 -- Contains the Tycho2 star catalog for centralized install, avoiding per-user install

On Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 05:24:38PM +0100, Noel David Torres Taño wrote:
> > > * License         : GPL
> > 
> >     This license is *not* the license the Tycho2 catalog was distributed
> > with 10 years ago (8th february 2000). It might be worth clarifying with
> > Erik Høg, original author of the catalog from the Niels Bohr Institute
> > under which license this catalog can be distribued.
> > 
> >     Please note that other catalogues distributed by international
> >     organisations (ESA, NASA) have had a 'please do not modify these files'
> >     strings attached and have thus fallen into non-free (see gliese and
> >     yale catalogues).
> That is the license of the file I'm distributing. Should I contact Simha and 
> Harris to see if THEY are violating the Tycho-2 catalog license?

Please confirm with them that this *derived* data from the Tycho-2 can be
indeed GPL-licensed. I would be very surprised if this is the case (I've had
contact with some producers of star data catalogues in the past) but if it is

We packaged the Gliese and Yale packages as they are right now (in non-free
and including the original sources with data files for starplot generated on
install) as the upstream authors would not allow for modification of the star
data catalogs.

Throughout the years maintainers (both Debian and upstream's) have learnt of
this "the hard way", i.e.  bugs in celestia: #174456, stellarium #198495,
kstars #198499, xephem 225002 and stars: #246047, gstar #246048, openuniverse

Some upstream developers (kstars') were very helpful in the past. When we
took this issue up with them, the kstars team (Jason Harris mainly) digged up
contacts with the catalog providers. 

This is what someone from CDS replied (when asked about Hipparcos and SAO

: Catalogues available at CDS contain scientific data distributed
: for free, for a scientific usage. Only the expenses related to
: copying and mailing are charged if relevant.
: Companies including such data in their commercial products cannot
: charge their clients for the data. Furthermore, users must be informed
: of the origin of the data: this means an explicit reference to the service
: provided by the CDS and also to the original author(s) of each catalogue.

So this initially made the catalogs used by kstars non-free, they then
contacted people at ESA which confirmed that Hipparcos was in the

:  Hello Jason,
:  The Hipparcos data is in the public domain and may be used
:  by anyone. We do request however that use of the catalogue data
:   is acknowledged. Something similar to "This application
:  makes use of the  Hipparcos and Tycho catalogues (ESA, 1997)"
:  could be appropriate, and a link to the ESA Hipparcos web pages
:  (http://sci.esa.int/hipparcos) would also be appreciated.
:  Can I enquire what you would like to use the catalogue for?
:  Regards,
:  Karen O'Flaherty

As a consequence kstars switch to the Hypparcos catalog (and many other
astronomy packages too).

Since the main author of the Tycho2 catalog is Erik Høg I suggest asking
the kstars developed if they have contacted him regarding the catalog and, if
not, get clarification from him

> > Actually, I believe that the fact that the catalog is not provided *within*
> > the kstars program is certainly because it is not considered free.
> I believe instead that the fact that the catalog is not provided *within* the 
> own set of predefined stars up to the visual magnitude. Datafile authors
> (which are, by the way, two of the same authors of the program itself) say
> the datafile is GPL, so I can not think they decided not to include it
> because of it being not free.

Please, take this up with upstream for clarification because in the past
other upstreams have made the same assumptions which turned out not to be
valid with other catalogs (i.e. yale). It would be best to seek clarification
from the author.  I don't see GPL anywhere at
http://www.astro.ku.dk/~erik/Tycho-2/, in fact, I don't see any reference to
licenses at all so I'm quite sure the original author do not stamped a GPL
license to the data.

Since upstream developers (kstars) where very open to discussion and where
really helpful when we brought to them this issue 7 years ago, they probably
have researched this issue, but a statement from the original author of the
catalog (to be used in debian/copyright) would be good to have.



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