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hxd confusion

There's a piece of software i've been wanting to package, but the
upstream maintainer, Ryan Nielsen removed the COPYING file from his source
tree a while ago. this is bad, because hxd and other included software
links with GPL'd code. He's just left it without any license whatsoever.

I can't find an old version with the licensed bits, and anonymous cvs
has also been turned off. Ryan has been unresponsive to requests to
fix this in the past, and there hasn't been a new version of hxd since

However, someone has, for better or worse, forked hxd (taken from cvs
shortly before cvs was closed), made modifications, and released the
entire thing under the GPL.

Is it legally okay for the person who forked hxd and GPL'd it to do
so? Misha Nasledov has dealt with Ryan before (Misha works on gtkhx, which
was originally based on parts of hxd source), and says it's legally
questionable, but probably okay by ryan.

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso

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