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Re: cc65 license check -- main or non-free?

On Sun, Jun 20, 2004 at 05:21:10PM -0600, Benjamin Cutler wrote:
> I'm out looking for a useful piece of emulation related software to 
> package, and I found a 65xxx compiler assembler. Parts of it are licensed 
> under what looks like a subset of the GPL with one small change that may 
> make it non-free, and the rest under what appears to be the zlib license. 
> Anyway, here's the verbatim copyright file I'd be using for the package. 
> What worries me is the first clause of the cc65 license. What qualifies as 
> a 'nominal fee'?


>       Anyone may copy or redistribute these programs, provided that:
>   1:  You don't charge anything for the copy.  It is permissable to
>       charge a nominal fee for media, etc.

And we're dead in the water already.  That's a typical non-commercial
clause, which means it's destined for non-free at best.

>   2:  All source code and documentation for the programs is made
>       available as part of the distribution.


>   3:  This copyright notice is preserved verbatim, and included in
>       the distribution.


>       You are allowed to modify these programs, and redistribute the
>   modified versions, provided that the modifications are clearly noted.

OK, although I think a sneaky lawyer could argue that source code doesn't
need to be provided for modified versions, as the 'provided' clause could be
taken as being the sole proviso on modified distribution.  This licence
wasn't written by a lawyer, was it?

>       There is NO WARRANTY with this software, it comes as is, and is
>   distributed in the hope that it may be useful.


>       This copyright notice applies to any program which contains
>   this text, or the refers to this file.
>       This copyright notice is based on the one published by the Free
>   Software Foundation, sometimes known as the GNU project.  The idea
>   is the same as theirs, ie the software is free, and is intended to
>   stay that way.  Everybody has the right to copy, modify, and re-
>   distribute this software.  Nobody has the right to prevent anyone
>   else from copying, modifying or redistributing it.

What the hell is this?  If it's licence text, it's *weird*.  Smells like
some kind of preamble or something.

> In acknowledgment of this copyright, I will place my own changes to the 
> compiler under the same copyright.

Is this something that the modifier is supposed to affirm or something?

> The library and the binary utils are a complete rewrite done by me and 
> covered by the following license:
> This software is provided 'as-is', without any express or implied warranty. 
> In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from 
> the use of this software.
> Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose, 
> including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it 
> freely, subject to the following restrictions:
>    1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not 
> claim that you wrote the original software. If you use this software in a 
> product, an acknowledgment in the product documentation would be 
> appreciated but is not required.
>    2. Altered source versions must be plainly marked as such, and must not 
> be misrepresented as being the original software.
>    3. This notice may not be removed or altered from any source 
>    distribution.

All of that seems OK.  The wording on "alter it and redistribute it freely"
is a bit nerve-wracking, though -- that 'freely' could mean 'without
charge', so the phrase could be read as "alter it and redistribute it
without charge", which would be NC again.  Also, the permission to
distribute modified versions isn't *explicitly* given.  If this copyright
holder plays the UWash game, it's suddenly too-non-free-for-non-free.

But, I guess it doesn't matter, because the first clause of the first
licence is non-free anyway.

- Matt

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