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Re: Good news: Free Haskell to come out RSN!

Dear legal crowd,

Summary: The question is whether the program HUGS released under Perl's
"Artistic" license can be distributed in "main" in a version linked with
libreadline which is GPL'd.

Let me be absolutely clear: we do *not* want to mess up this situation.
Thus we do *not* want to send *any* message back to the HUGS people before
there is consensus, OK?

Don't forget that "going free" is a big step for the Haskell crowd.
Probably the ones who wanted it NEED that it gives POSITIVE FEEDBACK from
us and the rest of the free software community.

Please do *not* nitpick!  Instead think of the nice ripple effect this will 
have when the competitors to HUGS (first of all ocaml) are encouraged to
follow suit ...

Here are the opinions so far followed by my own:

Gergely Madarasz:

> But as I said, artistic is not enough. It is not compatible with gpl, so
> it can't be linked against libreadline. Thats why it would be a nice
> option Artistic+GPL (users choice) like with perl.

David Starner:

> I don't believe they are compatable, and a reading of the Artistic
> License supports my feeling. OTOH, relying on my analysis would be
> foolish, so I've forwarded this to debian-legal. Honestly, the best
> answer would come from rms@gnu.org, but I hestitate to bother him.

(yes, lets give RMS a bit of quiet for a change :)

John Hasler:

> In my opinion they are compatible.  

Stephen Zander:

> Its *less* restrictive than the GNU licence, if that's what you mean.

I believe that this latter is the crux: since Artistic is *less*
restrictive than GPL we do not have to worry because "the program" which is 
an Artistic'd object linked with a GPL'd object will still be freely
distributable under the GPL.  Quoting from /usr/doc/copyright/Artistic:

  It also grants you the rights to reuse parts of a Package in your own
  programs without transferring this License to those programs, provided
  that you meet some reasonable requirements.

The GPL clearly meets these requirements, ergo no problem.


PS. Please cc me as I am not on the debian-legal list.

PPS. It's not that I don't like legal games but rather that I like them too 
     much that obliges me to stay off the list :)
Kristoffer Høgsbro Rose, phd, prof.associé  <http://www.ens-lyon.fr/~krisrose>
addr: LIP, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 Allée d'Italie, F-69364 Lyon 7
phone: +33(0)4 7272 8642, fax +33(0)4 7272 8080  <Kristoffer.Rose@ENS-Lyon.FR>
pgp f-p: A4D3 5BD7 3EC5 7CA2  924E D21D 126B B8E0  <krisrose@{debian,tug}.org>

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