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Re: caml-light licence question.

On Wed, May 14, 2003 at 04:35:20PM +0100, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr>:
> > I am trying to package caml-light which comes with the attached licence.
> > My understanding of it is that it is not distributable by debian, since
> > it allow distribution of modified works only as pristine source +
> > patches, not binaries, and i will be going to discuss this with the
> > upstream author(s). But is there something else i might have missed ?
> I don't see why it shouldn't be distributed in non-free. Even if you
> don't immediately intend to use a patch it might be better to only
> distribute a source package. That way you would be ready to make
> changes if and when necessary (someone might find a security bug).

Well, technically, the fact of adding the debian directory, and to move
the installation directory is considered enough of a change to make
distribution of binaries illegal. That was at least the advice i got
when first packaging ocaml, which had the same licence but which was
later moved to a free licence. So binary distribution is not possible,
and i don't consider a source package worth the effort. Also, i would
had to patch, since the upstream source doesn't build right now anyway,
but then they are aware of this and are planning a new release that
fixes this. Notice also that my packaging effort came as a request from
upstream, since caml-light is widely used for entry exams in french
ingenieurs schools, and student have difficulty installing it (a thread
on debian-user-french started all this). So, i think upstream can make
some effort here and change the licence. Especially since ocaml, which
is a later development from caml-light, has a more liberal licence.

> > BTW, what should i understand of the english sentence construction of
> > "the user undertakes to apply to obtain" It sound very much un-english,
> > but then, maybe i just misunderstand.
> It looks weird to me, too, but I think it's semantically void in this
> context. The text describes several "types" of permitted distribution
> and then (as I understand it) says you must ask for permission if you
> want to distribute in any other way, which is true anyway without the
> strange attempt at making the "user" agree to this "condition".

Maybe just a translation error, but it sounds strange even in french. I
was told one time by the upstream that INRIA's legal folk were rather
uncompetent about this kind of stuff.

Anyway, thanks about your response.


Sven Luther

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