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Re: License problem

On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 14:39:07 +0200 Alexis Papadopoulos wrote:

> Hello,


> I'm preparing a debian package for a math library (rheolef) which uses
> the GPL license v2. Some executables that also distributed with it 
> depend on `bamg` application which can be found at 
> http://www-rocq1.inria.fr/gamma/cdrom/www/bamg/eng.htm.

Mmmh, you should explain the dependence relationship better.
How do these executables interact with bamg?
Do they invoke it by forking another process?
Do they link against it?
Do they incorporate parts of bamg source code in their own code?

> This application doesn't seem to have any "known" license, I don't
> even  think there is one actually, the only information available on
> some  files header is the following one :
> // ********** DO NOT REMOVE THIS BANNER **********
> //
> // SUMMARY:  Bamg: Bidimensional Anisotrope Mesh Generator
> // RELEASE: 0
> // USAGE  : You may copy freely these files and use it for   
> //          teaching or research. These or part of these may  
> //          not be sold or used for a commercial purpose with-
> //          out our consent : fax (33) 1 39 63 55 14

This is indeed a license.
And (bad news!) it's not one that can even resemble to a DFSG-free
license...  :-(

We have permission to copy (OK) and use (OK), but only for a specific
It violates DFSG#6.
We do not have permission to sell.
It does not comply with DFSG#1.
We do not have permission to use for a commercial purpose.
It again violates DFSG#6.
We do not have permission to modify.
It does not satisfy DFSG#3.

This is suitable for non-free, at best.
Certainly *not* for contrib or main!
> //
> // AUTHOR:   F. Hecht,   
> // ORG    :  INRIA
> // E-MAIL :   Frederic.Hecht@Inria.fr  
> //
> // ORIG-DATE:     Dec 97
> // Modif          March 98
> I have contacted the author so as to know if I can include his sources
> in rheolef and he agrees.

What does he agree with?
That bamg is distributed along with other files?
Or that bamg is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL v2?

> What I want to know is :
> - am I obliged to release bamg sources included in rheolef under the
> GPL  too ?

This depends on your answer to the above questions regarding the
relationship between bamg and rheolef...

> - if not, can I let them as they are, I mean withouth any "known"
> license ?

Well, first of all, they are not without any license.
They are under a badly phrased and very non-free license.

As I said, if they stay as they are now, they don't belong in main, or
They should be moved to non-free (or maybe even not distributed at all,
since, if we nitpick, we have permission to copy, but not to

> - if yes, is this a problem regarding the Debian Policy
> (since I want to  make a debian package out of rheolef, and therefore
> the included bamg) ?

Debian Policy states that every package in main and contrib must comply
with the DFSG.
More relaxed requirements apply to the non-free section.
As long as bamg is not relicensed in a DFSG-free manner, it cannot be
distributed in main or contrib.

Possible solutions, in descending order of preference:

* you persuade bamg upstream author(s) to relicense under the GPL v2
(then everyone would be happy, have a big party, and you could package
bamg along with rheolef!)

* you find a DFSG-free (and possibly GPL-compatible) replacement for
bamg and include that in your package (another big party!)

* if bamg is of secondary importance for rheolef, you can package
rheolef without bamg support (and thus with some secondary feature

* if bamg is separate enough from rheolef, you can package rheolef in
contrib with a Depends: bamg and possibly package bamg in non-free (as
long as it's actually distributable...)

* you package rheolef+bamg in non-free (as long as bamg is actually

> Thank you in advance for your help

You're welcome.

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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