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Re: SEPL (Swiss Ephemeris Public License)

<posted & mailed>

Joshua Tacoma wrote:

> (not only am INAL, I also have no experience developing debian packages,
> and this may grow into my first one)
> I am looking at packaging the Swiss Ephemeris:
>     http://www.astro.com/swisseph/?lang=e
> It's available under two licenses: one (free) for "Open Source" use, the
> other ($) for "commercial" use.  Here is the free license
>     http://www.astro.com/swisseph/sepl.htm
> My confusion: there is an opening note (before the license text itself)
> :   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
> However, I haven't found grounds for this note in the license's terms.
> The closest I can find is in 6.a., in reference to software that links
> to the Swiss Ephemeris:
> :   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.
> ...which does not seem to disallow setting high prices on the
> machine-executable forms.
> So: is this 'main' material or not?
We don't tend to like inconsistent licenses, but it's OK if there's an
explanation from the author.  Ask them what they really mean.

> Thanks.
No, and for more reasons than that.

"This license file and the copyright notices in the source files are the
onlyplaces where the author's names may legally appear without specific
prior written permission."

What the hell?  First of all, this is just false.  Second, if it's
considered a license requirement, it's a non-free requirement.  Even if you
construe it to apply only to derived works (and not to the entire world),
why can't I say "The author, named <blah>, hated this patch and thinks that
it's terrible," if indeed he did?

What is the author trying to do here and can he please change it?

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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