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Re: IRAF package license

Scripsit Justin Pryzby <justinpryzby@users.sourceforge.net>

> TABLES has the following license:
> This software was prepared by Space Telescope Science Institute under
> U.S. Government contract NAS5-26555. Users shall not, without prior
> written permission of the U.S. Government, establish a claim to
> statutory copyright.  The Government and others acting on its behalf,
> shall have a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide
> license for Government purposes to publish, distribute, translate,
> copy, exhibit, and perform such material.

This is confusing. Just what does the words "such material" refer to?
It seems to suppose that the text has previously spoken about some
class of "material", but that is not the case.

> And IRAF has:
> Copyright(c) 1986 Association of Universities for Research in
> Astronomy Inc.

That looks like a BSD/MIT-style license without any trapdoors I can
see. The advertising clause is somewhat bothersome but not of the
malign type.

> "Under new guidelines from the National Science Foundation, this NCAR
> software package is copyrighted and, therefore, not in the public domain.
> Distribution by NCAR does not include the right of the recipient or user 
> to redistribute this software or to copy this software, except for one
> copy for archival purposes only.

Oops. Very non-free, and, as it stands, not even distributable.

> Seems to me like I should write to UCAR, no?

Hm, couldn't hurt, but the text quoted here does not indicate that
they would be friendly towards releasing the software under a free
license. If you can get a Debian-specific permission to distribute,
it could go into non-free.

Henning Makholm               "The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint
                           briefing slides instead of technical papers as an
 illustration of the problematic methods of technical communicaion at NASA."

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