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Re: Bad license on VCG?

On Mon, Aug 26, 2002 at 11:31:48PM -0500, starner@okstate.edu wrote:
> The Readme for VCG says:
>      We thank the Compare Consortium for the permission to distribute
>      this software and documentation freely.  You can redistribute 
>      it under the terms of the  GNU General Public License as published by
>      the  Free Software Foundation;  version 2  of the License.
>      We would certainly like to continue to distribute the documented 
>      sources freely, but currently we have the situation that we cannot
>      continue in this programmer-friendly way as before.
>      Thus, we have uglified some of the files in the distribution: these 
>      are the graph layout modules. These files are not anymore readable 
>      for human being, but they are readeable for the compiler. Thus you 
>      can compile the sources as before, but you cannot find out anymore 
>      how the details of the layout algorithms work.
>      This is a compromise. I think this is a better solution than to 
>      distribute binaries, because the users still can adapt the tool to
>      their computer system. (In the layout modules, normally no adaption
>      is necessary). Further, we did not spent too much time with 
>      uglification, thus the result should not be too ugly ;-)
> VCG is currently in main, but is it distributable at all? The GPL doesn't
> consider this source, IIRC.

Yeah.  I don't think it is distributable, and therefore not DFSG-free.

While the copyright holder can certainly distribute obfuscated source
and no one can tell him not to, the GNU GPL by which the licensees
(i.e., we, and our users) are bound requires them to distribute source
in the "preferred form for modification", which is not available from
the copyright holder.  Licensees cannot meaningfully fulfill the
requirements of the GNU GPL, therefore they "may not distribute the
Software at all".

Non-distributable means non-free.  You should probably file a grave bug
against this package.  Feel free to quote this mail.

G. Branden Robinson                |     Human beings rarely imagine a god
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     that behaves any better than a
branden@debian.org                 |     spoiled child.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Robert Heinlein

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