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Re: [DebianGIS] [netcdfgroup] Debian concerns about past NetCDF license in HDF4

Hi Francesco,

> I'm one of the current maintainers of HDF4/5 stuff in Debian GNU/Linux.
> We in Debian project (as many of you probably already know) are extremely
> concerned about licensing and recently our ftpmasters found that
> the NetCDF COPYRIGHT included in the HDF4 recent source (4.2r3)
> includes the known old BSD-like 'advertising clause' which is
> not GPL-compatible. Recent sources of NetCDF relaxed that
> condition, but the orginal source used by HDF4 team to derive
> NetCDF support in HDF4 does not.
> My idea is that an official statement by NetCDF group=20
> to retroactively relicense the old stuff would help in order to=20
> manage the license issue we found.
> A signed email by both parties would be great for instance,
> so that next HDF4 release could be updated.

In March 1996, I changed netCDF licensing to replace the obligation to
credit UCAR/Unidata in products or publications that made use of netCDF,
after email discussion with Richard Stallman convinced me that the
original language caused a problem.  We also announced the licensing
change on our "What's new with netCDF" web page in April 1996, as
recorded here:


where we also credit Stallman for suggesting the change.

As head of the group that develops and maintains netCDF software, I'm
happy to retroactively relicense the netCDF software released before
April 1996 to use the copyright conditions under which netCDF software
has been subsequently licensed:


If you need anything more official, please let us know.


Russ Rew                                         UCAR Unidata Program
Head, Data Services Group                 http://www.unidata.ucar.edu

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