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Re: Would this comply with DFSG?

John Hasler <john@dhh.gt.org> writes:
> Henning Makholm writes:
> > I just got a possibly better idea: how about something along the
> > lines of (informal language here, to be made more explicit if it works):

> > a) you can distribute your modified version under this licence if
> >   you send us a patch for your modification.

> > b) if you do not want to send us patches you may distribute your
> >   modified version under GPL, in which case this licence does not
> >   cover your modified version or its descendants.

> That would be fine.  The Debian version would be under the GPL, but as we
> provide pristine sources Debian users would still have the opportunity to
> choose your license.

> > The question is whether Debian would distribute it under the original
> > licence at all, then.

> It would go in non-free and thus not be put on CD's.

I don't follow that - can you back it with references to Debian policy
or the DFSG?

Consider a Debian developer who needs to change something in our
sofware. He can then:

A - send us an email with his patch and, by distributing under our
    licence, allow the users of his package to choose between our
    licence an the GPL.

B - not send us anything and constrain the users of the package to
    using the binaries as permitted by the GPL

C - send us his patch but still choose to constrain his users to GPL.

Now you're saying that B and (presumably) C would be okay for main,
but that A would have to go in non-free.

The difference between A and C is that A gives the user a choice in
addition to allowing everything C does. How can the *addition* of
a *choice* make the software *less* free?

Note that the mail-us-your-patch clause only concerns the entity
who actually makes the modification. It has no relevance for e.g.
CD manufactures or mirror site administrators that merely pass
(perhaps modified) copies of the software on whithout adding
any modifications of their own.

> (Your email requirement would apply to Debian users as as the
> maintainer, of course).

It would only be relevant for users who changed the sources
themselves - and they would have the option of changing the
licence to GPL, too. Which is hardly much more of a burden than
entering prominent notices that they changed something, which
DFSG-free licences *can* require people to do.

Henning Makholm

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