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Re: [Fwd: ITP: newmat -- manipulate matrices using standard operations]



On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 14:48:14 -0500 David Moreno Garza wrote:

> Forwarding from a wnpp bug.
> 
> debian-legal is the best place for discussing this.
[...]

On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 21:53:47 -0500 Dirk Eddelbuettel wrote:

[...]
> Let me add that I had quite a few email exchanges back then with
> newmat's author. Based on the fairly regular contact I had with him,
> there is no doubt in my mind that Robert would a) welcome inclusion of
> newmat in Debian,

Good.

> and b) consider newmat to be obviously open source.

The license is too vague and unclear, but, if the author wants his
software to be DFSG-free, we (at debian-legal) can suggest an
appropriate license change.

[...]
> >From the newmat10 manual:
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------- 1.1 Conditions of use
[...]
> 
> There are no restrictions on the use of newmat except that I take no
> liability for any problems that may arise from this use.

OK, no restrictions on use.

> 
> I welcome its distribution as part of low cost CD-ROM collections.

Here it seems that permission to distribute is granted, but only as part
of low cost CD-ROM collections.
No permission to distribute via other means seems to be granted.
Non-free.

> 
> You can use it in your commercial projects.

Nothing new, since the license already stated there are no restrictions
on use.

> However, if you distribute
> the source, please make it clear which parts are mine and that they
> are available essentially for free over the Internet.

OK, do not misrepresent.

> 
> PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE MAY STILL BE BUGS AND ERRORS. USE AT YOUR
> OWN RISK. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THIS
> PACKAGE OR FOR ANY MISFORTUNE THAT MAY BEFALL YOU OR OTHERS AS A
> RESULT OF ITS USE.

Common desclaimer of responsibility, even if phrased in a weird manner.

> 
> Please report bugs to me at robert (at) statsresearch.co.nz
> 
> When reporting a bug please tell me which C++ compiler you are using,
> and what version. Also give me details of your computer. And tell me
> which version of newmat (e.g. newmat03 or newmat04) you are using.
> Note any changes you have made to my code. If at all possible give me
> a piece of code illustrating the bug. See the problem report form.
> 
> Please do report bugs to me.

These sentences are kind requests and do not really belong in a license.

The license ends here.

There is no explicit permission to distribute (except as part of low
cost CD-ROM collections).
There is no explicit permission to modify or distribute modified
versions.
Non-free.


If the author really meant to make his software Free, it seems that he
wanted a simple permissive non-copyleft license.
I would suggest upstream author to change the license to the Expat
(a.k.a. MIT) license: http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt

This would solve all the licensing issues: newmat would become DFSG-free
and reach the goals of license simplicity and permissiveness.

-- 
    :-(   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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