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Re: FWD from XFree86 forum: GPL-incompatible license

On Wed, Feb 11, 2004 at 07:53:49PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 11, 2004 at 01:43:42PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > On Wed, Feb 11, 2004 at 02:42:57PM +0100, Sven Luther wrote:
> > > Branden,
> > > 
> > > Again, you do great job in following the licence stuff, and
> > > felicitations to you and to the rest of the X strike force for the soon
> > > to be upcoming 4.3.0-1 package.
> > 
> > Just my luck that when I finish the TODO list, some security holes show
> > up that have me embargoed.  Oh well.
> Yeah, altough i would go ahead with the upload to unstable, and send the
> 4.2.1 security fixes trough the testing-proposed-updates queue. But you
> know best how to handle this.

Once the current security issue is unembargoed, I'll be able to explain
why, in this particular case, that approach would be more work (for
little gain, if one regards security flaws as important).

> > The reason is simple; I'm not subsribed to the XFree86 forum list, and I
> > generally try to avoid sending unsolicited mail to lists to which I
> > don't subscribe.  Particularly in this case, as redistribution of my
> > message is not restricted (it was sent to 3 public forums already).
> Yes, altough notice that the original mails were forwarded from there.

That doesn't really bear on my opinion about the courtesy of sending
unsolicited mails to lists I don't subscribe to.

> > Moreover, given David Dawes's statement that GPL compatibility simply
> > isn't on the XFree86 Project, Inc.'s radar screen as far as its
> Well, this might be so, but David is not the only one concerned here,

True enough; this concerns the entire community (in my opinion), which
is why I sent it to three lists.  The X.Org Foundation list as a conduit
to the X community, debian-x so that the team of developers and users
who are attentive to Debian X development are kept abreast of what I'm
doing, and debian-legal so the licensing experts there can
check my work.  Josh Triplett recently noted[1] that the license in Unix
compress doesn't permit modification or redistribution of modified
versions, which means the code is not DFSG-free, and not Open Source by
most definitions I'm aware of.  I don't know if the XFree86 Project,
Inc., considers that "Open Source" or not.

> and i think the discussion you quoted and where he responded to RMS has
> been rather courteous (i am sure you don't say that in english) upto
> now.

I wasn't trying to imply otherwise, and I don't think I did.  I was just
reading copyright notices, license statements, and warranty disclaimers,
and doing a lot of grepping.

> > licensing policy is concerned, I'm not sure the forum list needs to be
> > bothered with my analysis.  The XFree86 Project, Inc., might not regard
> > any of the issues I raised as a problem, and if so, there's really no
> > point wasting their time with them.
> Still, it is a usefull entry point, and the forum@xfree86.org is the
> natural discussion place for issues related to the XFree86 Project,
> including licencing issues.

Please feel free to forward my comments there, then.

> > You may feel differently, however, and there is nothing stopping you from
> > redistributing my message to the forum list if you think that would be
> > productive.
> It was already done, altough with some kind of subpar email client which
> fully butchered everything.

Well, that's a shame.  You might ask the XFree86 mailing list admin -- I
think that is Georgina Economou -- if it would be worth the trouble of
re-sending with a more civilized MUA.

> I wanted to ask you before you did that though.

You don't need my permission.  It would be prudent to make sure you
don't abuse the XFree86 forum list, though.

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/debian-legal-200402/msg00105.html

G. Branden Robinson                |     Reality is what refuses to go away
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     when I stop believing in it.
branden@debian.org                 |     -- Philip K. Dick
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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