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Re: Bug#169243: ilisp: Is it even distributable?

Kevin Rosenberg <kevin@rosenberg.net> wrote:

> Peter,
> Thanks for message. I've forwarded your message to ilisp-devel for
> their consideration as well as debian-legal. ILISP has been an
> important part of Lisp development for many years, so it is essential
> to clarify the issue completely. 
> Of course, I think it is the hope of all that ILISP's license can
> become DSFG compliant.

Thanks for not getting upset at the messenger.

I'm surprised that the authors didn't simply start off using the GPL
since it appears that they wanted the code to become part of Emacs down
the road.  The best way to accomplish such a goal is to start off using
the GPL, assign copyright to the FSF (and sign the paperwork), and
accept patches only when the contributor is also willing to sign the
paperwork.  It's tedious, but changing licenses later in the game is
difficult when multiple contributors are involved.

It's possible that some people won't see loading Emacs code as loading a
library.  Emacs is an interpreter after all.  For my part, I think that
using only Emacs builtins might be okay, but using elisp code crosses
the line.  Unfortunately, the FSF doesn't specifically say anywhere what
license elisp code (that load other Emacs code) must use.  Even RMS
hasn't really thought about the issue.


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