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Re: Fwd: Re: libjpeg for debian, autoconf

Hello James,

On Tue, Oct 29, 2002 at 10:05:43AM -0800, James Michael DuPont wrote:
> Dear Debian legal, Gnu License Violation,

> There seems to be a problem with the sources of
> the libjpeg package. It does not have the full source code,
> it is missing the autoconf and automake sources.

> Do you allow debian and gnu packages to be distributed without the
> "full" source code including the autoconf tools. 

> These sources are needed to port the package to a new platform.

> Can you please advise as to the definition of source code
> pertaining to the autoconf's configure.in?

Thank you for your expression of interest in the license-compliance of
Debian packages.  The libjpeg library is not licensed under the GPL,
and therefore does not carry with it a requirement that we distribute any
particular components as part of the source when we distribute binaries
(i.e., the GPL "preferred form for modification" clause).  Moreover, the
license of autoconf contains the following exception:

  As a special exception, the Free Software Foundation gives unlimited
  permission to copy, distribute and modify the configure scripts that
  are the output of Autoconf.  You need not follow the terms of the GNU
  General Public License when using or distributing such scripts, even
  though portions of the text of Autoconf appear in them.  The GNU
  General Public License (GPL) does govern all other use of the material
  that constitutes the Autoconf program.

As far as I'm able to determine from the source package, libjpeg does not
use automake for any of its build scripts.

Therefore, I do not believe that our distribution of libjpeg in its
present form constitutes a violation of the licenses of either autoconf
or libjpeg.  The absence of the configure.in used to generate the present
configure script is a bit of a nuisance, but I'm not sure it's
substantial enough to regard this as not being DFSG-compliant.  I'm sure
other list subscribers will weigh in if they disagree with me on this
point.  If it is regarded as making the software non-free, I'm sure a
free replacement can be reconstituted with ease.  I volunteer to help
with this if necessary.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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