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Re: License bugs for sarge

Scripsit neroden@twcny.rr.com (Nathanael Nerode)

I ran over Nathanael's list of bugs to provide an independent
assessment from a d-l point of view; here are my findings. Note that
some of the activity seems to be in response to pings from NN earlier

> 224913: gpsdrive

Closed by upload earlier today.

> 229720: icecast2

There is some discussion in the bug. It seems to be free except for a
couple of win32 source files (which can presumably be left out of the
orig.tar.gz without ill effects). The rest of the problem seems to
consist of files that do not contain individual copyright notices.
If those files are genuinely written by the same author as the one who
put them beside a copy of the GPL, I think we can safely work from the
fact that the *work*, as a whole, has an appropriate copyright notice
and license.

> 227793: libpgeasy

Missing explicit license notice in upstream source, maintainer is in
contact with upstream about fixing.

> 229747: mirrormagic

Maintainer promised earlier today to talk to upstream about the problems.

> 220054: smlnj
> -- no source!

Closed earlier today.

> 211644: ssh
> -- this one was really close to being solved; more people need to bug
> Matthew Vernon about this.


> 223587: vcdimager
> -- sounds like it's basically fixed; I sent a nag

> 212766: vlc
> -- untouched since Sept. -- needs repackaging

Some upstream author disclaims liability for possible patent problems,
which is reasonable. The "needs repacking" is not a legal problem, if
the licenses in question are compatible (and if they are, repackaging
will not solve the problem).

> 225002: xephem
> -- star catalog is undistributable

I agree that there is a problem, but speculate that there must be star
catalogs which are copyright-free due to the "works by U.S.
Government" doctrine. Don't institutional American starwatchers get
federal money to do what they do?

> Also, how quickly should undistributable packages be removed from
> Debian?  I'm tempted to file ftp.debian.org bugs *immediately* at
> *critical* severity, since these leave Debian nastily open to
> lawsuits.

I think debian-legal usually advocates a "wait-and-see" approach in
cases where it seems likely that the copyright holder is just stating
benign intentions in confused and/or contradictory terms, *and* the
Debian maintainer has a working dialogue with said copyright holder.

On the other hand, in case of direct license incompabilities (for
example: Upstream reuses GPLed source but restricts his own work above
and beyond what GPL does), we should remove the package immediately,
both due to the lawsuit risk, and out of respect for the authors of
the original GPL code.

Henning Makholm            "We can hope that this serious deficiency will be
                      remedied in the final version of BibTeX, 1.0, which is
            expected to appear when the LaTeX 3.0 development is completed."

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