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Re: Bug#349279: tailor: _process.py seems under non-GPL license

Osamu Aoki wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 04:52:23PM -0800, Walter Landry wrote:
>>Osamu Aoki <osamu@debian.org> wrote:
>>>This license only gives permission when fee is not charged.  That seems
>>>to be DSFG1 violation.  Also mixing code of GPL and this seems to be
>>This is a fairly standard license.  The usual way of interpreting it
>>is that you need not pay any fees in order to copy, modify, or
> Hmmm... I disagree.  Do you have any reference to substantiate this?
> Making unsubstantiated judgment on this list is not a good idea.
> Please reread the license of this file:(Emphasis, me)
>># Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and
>># its associated documentation for any purpose and without fee is
>>                                                   ^^^^^^^^^^^
>># hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appears in
>># all copies, and that both that copyright notice and this permission
>># notice appear in supporting documentation, and that the name of the
>># author not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to
>># distribution of the software without specific, written prior
>># permission.
> This means there is no explicit permission if fee is charged.
> Permission is granted for "without fee" only.  So this software is
> without license and undistributable for my understanding for people who
> charge fees.  I think lha in non-free is a good reference for my
> judgement.  Can you point me to a package in main with this kind of
> license only?

Quite a number of them:
$ grep 'without fee' -irl /usr/share/doc/*/copyright | wc -l

And that's just on my system, containing no non-free packages.  (A few
of those occurrences use clearer variants of the wording; most do not.)
 A few random examples include aspell-en, classpath, curl, docbook,
fontconfig, gimp-data, groff, libboost*, libpng, netpbm, ntpdate,
python, reportbug, and most of X.

This clause is universally interpreted to mean that the permission is
granted and you don't need to pay a fee to get that permission; in other
words, "for any purpose and without fee is granted" is equivalent to
"for any purposes is granted without fee".  A quick google over the
debian-legal archives shows that this issue has been discussed and
resolved as early as 1999, and that it nevertheless comes up numerous
times after that.

- Josh Triplett

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