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Re: Bug#386406: libmms: majormms haven't yet granted relicensing to LGPL

On Wed, 13 Sep 2006, Loïc Minier wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 12, 2006, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > Loic: The only actual (minor) issue here is that the package doesn't
> > reference the GPL and include the copyright+licensing statement of the
> > parts that are GPL licensed. It would also be useful to include the
> > actual copyright statements of the parts which you have included the
> > LGPLed license statement. [Adjusting the severity accordingly; feel
> > free to override.]
> The upstream tarball is said to be LGPL, and was relicensed as such
> after the message the OP links to. This is the result of an upstream
> relicensing work, which was announced publicly and followed by a
> tarball release.
> My understanding is that the submitter claims that this relicensing
> is incomplete and/or erroneous, but doesn't provide any further
> information than references to messages before the relicensing
> happened.

Ah; my understanding was that there were some parts (the xmms header
files?) which were GPL only, and that the rest of libmms was licenced
under the LGPL, which is what I retitled the bug to clarify. [If
that's actually the case, as debian/copyright currently indicates, it
should eventually be modified with the changes I suggested... but
that's a trivial issue.]

> Even if relicensing the Debian package would have some consequences,
> I am open to this solution *if* this has some factual and recent
> ground.

Let me be as unequivocal as I can be: 

   There is no factual ground or reasonable reason to strip out the
   LGPL and return the work to the GPLed state.

Because the LGPL can always be returned to the GPL, it is always
compatible with the GPL. We as distributors do not need to reduce the
flexibility we offer to those using the distribution.[1]

If upstream has released it under the LGPL, then that's good enough.
Even if they've made a mistake, and parts of it are still GPLed,
that's still fine because the LGPL is explicitly compatible with the
GPL. All that would mean is that the copyright file has a fixable
error in it because it doesn't document the actual license of parts
carefully enough.

The only questionable part comes if you actually need the permissions
of the LGPL in Debian... but I assume that's not the case here. [And
baring clarification from the submitter, we should assume that the
relicensing was carried out with due dilligence, and that those extra
permisions are actually available.]

Don Armstrong

1: We obviously could... but it is not required.
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its
freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money it
values more, it will lose that, too.
 -- W. Somerset Maugham

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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