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Re: GPL-script to be run on a non-free interpreter

On Sun, Aug 04, 2002 at 01:57:52PM -0500, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> On Sun, 2002-08-04 at 12:47, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > On Sun, Aug 04, 2002 at 05:58:19PM +0200, Ralf Treinen wrote:
> > > When I sent my ITP on debian-devel today, Moshe Zadka claimed that
> > > even distributing maria-viz would be illegal.

> > > http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2002/debian-devel-200208/msg00188.html

> > > Can please someone advise whether this is really the case?

> > It is ok to redistribute it by itself; if you distribute it with the
> > interpreter (which is the case in Debian), I believe the GPL requires you
> > to also distribute the interpreter's source under the GPL.  Therefore, if
> > the interpreter is not GPL-compatible, the letter of the GPL says you
> > cannot distribute this script in Debian.

> Forgive my ignorance, but is this the general policy for GPL packages in
> contrib that depend on packages in non-free?  It's been often quoted
> that "contrib and non-free are not part of Debian"; I'm wondering if
> this determination has an effect on the licensing question.

> The idea in my head is that contrib and non-free are "separate".  Of
> course, if you create a contrib/non-free CD, you might have problems,
> but I thought that Debian didn't make any guarantees about third-party
> distribution of non-free.

The ignorance appears to have been mine; I assumed that the interpreter
was GPL-incompatible, but still free.  If it's non-free, then we don't
risk shipping them together, since non-free, main, and contrib are each
regarded separately, and Debian does not ship non-free as part of the
standard CD sets.  We even go so far as to warn distributors about the
potential legal tangles of shipping non-free; this is just one more.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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