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hx should be removed from the distribution unless copyright is clarified



Package: ftp.debian.org
Version: 20001210

I have announced my intention to adopt hx, and have found several
problems in the process.

I quote the copyright:

   Copyright (C) 1991 asf, asf.

   hx is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
   under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
   Free Software Foundation; either version 69, or (at your option) any
   earlier version.

asf, asf is not a real entity, although I am not sure if this matters.
The package was not made in 1991 - I wittnessed its creation only a
few years ago. The GPL version 69 has never been published. I have
been trying to package a much more recent version of hx, in which all
mentions of the GPL seem to have disappeared. When the upstream author
was inquired, he was consistant with the what you would guess about
him reading this message so far. He said that hx was no not under any
license, and he thought that software licensing was stupid and he did
not care about it. He has not been willing to change the license to
something such as the BSD license, which would allow modification. A
good summary of US copyright relating to unlicensed programs is at
http://cr.yp.to/softwarelaw.html, and it basically says that rights to
run or modify the software, but not distribute patches to it. This might
be acceptable for non-free, except that debian packaging is basically
a patch. I think the same issues apply for qmail, but do not know what
descision was arrived at with that particular package.

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