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Re: Swiss Ephemeris Public License

On Fri, 10 Oct 2003, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> If you do not meet the requirements in the SEPL, for example if
> - you develop and distribute software which is sold for a fee higher than a
>   reasonable copy charge
> - or/and you develop and distribute software which is not published under an
>   Open Source or equivalent license
>   you must purchase the Swiss Ephemeris Professional Edition under the Swiss
>   Ephemeris Professional License.

These clarifications are a bit troubling (and from my reading don't
extend from the license.) The licenses restriction of #1 only applies
to the source code of SE, not all of the compiled and source programs
distributed by a company as alluded to by #1. I'm not quite sure if
they intend for the license to actually mean #1, or if they just
weren't clear.

#2 has the same problem of seeming to apply to all works distributed
by a person or entity, which isn't something delinated in the license.
[Eg, if you distribute any software which isn't under an OS license
(say you provide software under contract to someone) you need a
Professional License.]

> 4. You may distribute machine-executable forms of the SE or
>    machine-executable forms of modified versions of the SE, provided that
> you meet these restrictions:
>      a. You accompany the SE with this license.
>      b. You must ensure that all recipients of the machine-executable
>      forms are also able to receive the complete machine-readable source
>      code to the distributed SE, including all modifications, without any
>      charge beyond the costs of data transfer.

This is where #1 seemingly extends from, which is fairly similar to
net effect of the interaction of GPL 3 and 1.

> 5. You may use the original or modified versions of the Swiss
>    Ephemeris Software to compile, link and run application programs
>    legally developed by you or third parties.
> 6. You may develop application programs, reusable components and
>    other software items that link with the original or modified
>    versions of the Swiss Ephemeris Software. These items, when
>    distributed in machine-executable form, have the following
>    restrictions:
>      a. You must ensure that all recipients of machine-executable
>      forms of these items are also able to receive and use the
>      complete machine-readable source code to the items without any
>      charge beyond the costs of data transfer.

#1 again.

>      b. You must explicitly license all recipients of your items to
>      use and re-distribute original and modified versions of the
>      items in both machine-executable and source code forms under
>      terms identical to those under which they received the items.

This section is, apparently where the second part of the
clarifications is comming from. This part of the license itself seems
pretty straightforward, and basically expects everything which is
linked with SE to be redistributable and modifiable. Sort of a weaker
form of the linking effect of GPL 3.

On the face, I'd say that the license itself is DFSG free. However,
the clarifications in the beginning of the license are troubling. The
license doesn't seem to say what they are interpreting it to say.
However, where possible, we try to respect the interpretation of the
copyright holder with respect to the license. If the copyright holder
interprets the license in a way that is not DFSG free, we assume that
it isn't DFSG free.

Jaldhar: Assuming that most of -legal concurs with my assessment, I
expect that if you talk to upstream and ask them about their
clarifications in light of James, my and others concerns and get them
to explain a bit further, that would probably clear up the issue to
ftpmaster's and -legal's satisfaction.

Don Armstrong

N: Why should I believe that?"
B: Because it's a fact."
N: Fact?"
B: F, A, C, T... fact"
N: So you're saying that I should believe it because it's true. 
   That's your argument?
B: It IS true.
-- "Ploy" http://www.mediacampaign.org/multimedia/Ploy.MPG


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