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Re: MMIX License

On Mon, Apr 01, 2002 at 12:43:56AM -0500, Dylan Thurston wrote:
> On 31 Mar 2002, Joe Drew <hoserhead@woot.net> wrote:
> > This license doesn't explicitly allow distribution of binaries produced
> > from modified source files; it seems to me that therefore it fails
> > section 4 of the DFSG.

Right. I have missed that point.

> The last time this came up (in the thread from November 1999 starting at
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/1999/debian-legal-199911/msg00121.html )
> it was generally agreed that this was probably an oversight and that we
> should contact Donald Knuth, but we didn't want to wait 3 months for a
> response.  Since it's been over 2 1/2 years, I think we can probably
> wait an additional few months...

I'm not sure this is an oversight, but I agree with contacting Donald
Knuth. In the meantime whatever I do, I will keep the package in
source form plus an script to build the program and the documentation
once installed.

If we finally get a response, we can change the section and behaviour

Provided binary distribution would be granted, is there any other
issues to face before mmix should be considered free software?

> I'm happy to write a letter on this subject, but are there other issues
> we want to address other than binary modification?

The point is binary distribution of modified sources. Is the same as
"binary modification"?

> I note that the Makefile doesn't seem to have a license; do I need
> to ask about that?  From the current package, that seems to be the
> one file that we actually modify.

I think we should ask.

This arises a new question for me. If we manage to make a package
without modifying any file, for example, writing a new Makefile to
build it, as long as no file has been modified, can it be distributed

I mean, the copyright notice just imposes the restriction to modify
each file individually. There is no "package" restriction, so is it
legal to include a file in another program (identifying that file as
owned and licensed under Donald Knuth conditions) ?

I suppose we still would need grants to distribute mmix in binary
form, and that could be a bit tricky because cweb underestimates the
compiled concept in favour of a mixed doc+code form.


Pablo S. Torralba

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