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Re: Moscow ML (mosml) not even allowed in non-free?

Scripsit Andreas Metzler <ametzler@logic.univie.ac.at>
>  Jens Peter Secher <jpsecher@diku.dk> wrote:

> > I have provided an unofficial deb package[1] of Moscow ML (an ML
> > compiler) for some time now, but it has licensing problems.

> > According[2] to Torsten Landschoff, there was a discussion of this
> > matter on this list, but I cannot seem to find it.  Is there anyone
> > who can give me pointers to the discussion?

> http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2000/debian-devel-200008/msg00604.html

A later thread is


Abstract of the situation:
  The source of the Moscow ML compiler is GPL'ed. However the compiler
  compiles to a bytecode language for which the interpreter is covered
  by a non-free licence (which prohibits for-profit distribution).
  Since it is written in its own lanaguage, the compiler also uses the
  non-free bytecode interpreter to run.

The -devel thread Andreas refers to concludes that this means that the
whole thing is basically non-distributable, but I beg to differ.

The copyright notice for the compiler (in the source tarball's README
file) explicitly acknowledges the non-freedom of the runtime-system,
so it is reasonable to assume that what the authors meant is that the
code is distributable even though it depends on the non-free runtime
system. There's not any explicit exception statement, but the intent
is clear nevertheless, and as far as I can ascertain there is no
third-party GPL code around that could foul up things.

A bunch of us (which includes me, JP Secher and other guys) would
really like to see Moscow ML in Debian (and, on my own behalf, I'd
really like to see it linked with libreadline, which the non-free
runtime currently prevents), so we're trying to increase pressure
on the Moscow ML developers, as well as the original authors of the
runtime system, get the licenses sorted out.

Henning Makholm                "He who joyfully eats soup has already earned
                            my contempt. He has been given teeth by mistake,
                          since for him the intestines would fully suffice."

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