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Re: FWD: Bug#121916: analog should be in non-free

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes:

> I don't think that the requirement "you may not charge for distributing
> a modified version of the program unless the source code [...] is publicly
> and freely available" violates the DFSG. It's not much different from
> the GPL's requirements that the source code to modified versions of
> GPL'd software be made available, and is in fact much less onerous in
> its requirements than is, eg, section 3b. of the GPL. I think this list has
> seen discussions about whether that violates the DFSG, and I hope we can
> avoid rehashing that.

Such rules *are* importantly different from the GPL's rules, because
the GPL lets you charge whatever you want for copying the program, not
merely a "reasonable cost".  The DFSG agrees with the GPL, of course,
in requiring that there may not be such restrictions on how much you
can legally charge for a copy.  

> Moving on to the other objection, does "you may not charge for the
> program itself, only for reasonable costs of distributing the program"
> violate the DFSG? The DFSG requires that a program's license not prevent
> sale of an aggregate of software that includes that program. It doesn't
> require that the program be salable alone, just in combination with
> other software.

That requirement imposes a maximum price that can be charged for a
copy of the program.  Whether it blocks Debian or not isn't the point;
if I make a CD with only analog, and charge $20,000 for it, then I'm
violating the license, and that makes analog a non-DFSG-free program.

> And get away with it. :-) It's woth noting that there is a lot of
> software in debian licensed under the Artistic license, which has this
> to say about sale costs, and nobody has seriously objected to this so far:

The FSF, in fact, did object to the Artistic license, precisely
because it's vague.  But the analog license is *not* vague, because it
doesn't have the "you don't have to justify it to the copyright
holder" escape clause.  Something licensed like analog would have a
real limit on how much you can charge, and that limit makes it

> Finally, even if I'm dead wrong on the above, the title of this email is
> wrong. Stephen has modified his license in the past to address concerns,
> expresses a great deal of willing flexablity in the license itself ("If
> you want to do something that is against this licence, but within the
> spirit of free software, then let's talk about it."), and is, I think, a
> Debian user. I'm suspect comething can be worked out to keep analog in
> Debian if that turns out to be necessary. 

If this is correct, then we should certainly ask Stephen to modify the
license.  Perhaps we the requirement could be changed to a request:
"you are requested not to charge more than a reasonable copying fee".
That's no problem at all.

> Also, Stephen, have you even thought about dual-licensing analog under some
> other, probably generally more restrictive, license like the GPL? That might
> be useful, since it would firmly put to rest any complaints about the free
> softwareness of analog's license, while (probably) not giving away any more
> rights than you do now, and without changing at all the more interesting
> provisions of your current license (like the "1000 lines" clauses).

Dual-licensing would completely solve the problem.


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