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Re: Perl module license clarification

On Tue, Feb 04, 2003 at 05:03:43PM -0600, Ardo van Rangelrooij wrote:
> When I tried to get a Perl module with this license in Debian, I got the
> following reason from James Troup for not accepting the above license
> statement (and I quote):
>     Sorry to be pedantic but the only external files you're meant to
>     reference in the copyright file are the common licenses in base-files.
>     And saying it's "under the same license as Perl itself" is unhelpful;
>     which version of Perl?  What if Perl changes licenses? etc.  I realise
>     this may be an upstream thing; if so please ask them to clarify it to
>     specify GPL/Artistic explicitly so you can do the same in the
>     copyright file.
> The majority of the Perl modules use the above license statement, except
> for some that use e.g. the GPL.  The use of this license statement is
> even explicitly suggested by e.g. perlmodlib(1) and pod2man(1), making
> using the license a practice endorsed and accepted by the Perl community.

Yes, isn't there quite a lot of stuff in main that already has this
"problem"?  Would it be inaccurate to say that there's a whole heck of a
lot of precedent indicating that using this license language is

One way to interpret this language might be "this work is licensed under
any license that has ever applied to Perl, past or present".  Since that
set uncontroversially includes version 2 of the GNU GPL, this
interpretation should plant all works so licensed firmly into

Does anyone have a problem with the above interpretation?  Does anyone
find it implausible?  I don't think it's reaching at all.  It seems to
me to be a really straightforward reading of the language "licensed
under the same terms as Perl itself".

A huge number of Perl hackers, past and present, seem to be perfectly
content to delegate their licensing decisions to Larry Wall.  I don't
see why we can't take them at their express word.

G. Branden Robinson                |      There's no trick to being a
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      humorist when you have the whole
branden@debian.org                 |      government working for you.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |      -- Will Rogers

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