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Re: Request for help in checking GPL-compatibility

On Sat, 14 Apr 2007 05:00:09 +0530 Shriramana Sharma wrote:

> I would like to know whether the Swiss Ephemeris Public Licence which 
> can be found at:
> ftp://astro.com/pub/swisseph/src/LICENSE

I'm quoting the full license text below, for reference purposes.

> is GPL-compatible or not. That is, can I write a program based on this
> library and GPL it? As I read it, it is GPL-compatible.

I _don't_ think it's compatible with GPLv2.

Clause 3 is a patch-only restriction, which is not a DFSG-freeness,
but is GPL-incompatible (as already noted by Andrew Donnellan). 

> I would really like to use this library (Swiss Ephemeris) but I have
> to  GPL my program since I use Qt OSS edition. I asked the people who
> wrote  and hence own the library whether I can GPL a program based on
> their  library but they said no "because it would allow commercial use
> of the  library which is not permitted by the SEPL". Again I feel they
> have  confused commercial software and proprietary software.

That's really confusing.
If they really mean commercial, then the GNU GPL v2 allows commercial
use, but it seems the SEPL does as well...
If they instead mean proprietary, then the GNU GPL v2 forbids
proprietary use (in contrast to what they believe), while their SEPL is
a far weaker defense against proprietary use...


My suggestion is to contact them again: try and persuade them to
relicense (or dual-license) the library under the GNU GPL v2.

> Also when a licence is GPL-compatible it is also automatically 
> DFSG-compatible, right?

I would say so, yes.

====================== full license text follows ======================

                                version 0.2

              Copyright (C) 1998 Astrodienst AG, Switzerland.
                     Everyone is permitted to copy and
                     distribute this license document.

This license applies to any software containing a notice placed by the
copyright holder saying that it may be distributed under the terms of
the SEPL version 0.2. Such software is herein referred to as the Swiss
Ephemeris Software (SE). This license covers modification and
distribution of the SE, use of third-party application programs based on
the SE, and development of free software which uses the SE.

                               Granted Rights

1. You are granted the rights set forth in this license provided you
agree to any and all conditions in this license. Whole or partial
distribution of the SE in any form signifies acceptance of this license.

2. You may copy and distribute the SE provided that
the entire package is distributed, including this License.

3. You may make modifications to the SE files and distribute your
modifications in a form distinct from the SE. The following
restrictions apply to modifications:             

     a. Modifications must not alter or remove any copyright notices in
     the SE.

     b. If modifications to the SE are released under this
     license, a non-exclusive right is granted to the holder of the
     copyright of the unmodified SE to distribute your
     modification in future versions of the SE provided such
     versions remain available under these terms in addition to any
     other license.  

4. You may distribute machine-executable forms of the SE or
machine-executable forms of modified versions of the SE, provided that
you meet these restrictions:  

     a. You accompany the SE with this license.

     b. You must ensure that all recipients of the machine-executable
     forms are also able to receive the complete machine-readable
     source code to the distributed SE, including all
     modifications, without any charge beyond the costs of data

     c. You ensure that all modifications included in the
     machine-executable forms are available under the terms of this

5. You may use the original or modified versions of the Swiss Ephemeris
Software to compile, link and run application programs legally developed
by you or third parties.

6. You may develop application programs, reusable components and other
software items that link with the original or modified versions of the
Swiss Ephemeris Software. These items, when distributed in
machine-executable form, have the following restrictions:  

     a. You must ensure that all recipients of machine-executable forms
     of these items are also able to receive and use the complete
     machine-readable source code to the items without any charge
     beyond the costs of data transfer.

     b. You must explicitly license all recipients of your items to use
     and re-distribute original and modified versions of the items in
     both machine-executable and source code forms under terms
     identical to those under which they received the items.      

7. The trademarks 'Swiss Ephemeris' and 'Swiss Ephemeris inside' and the
associated icons may be used for promoting software, products or
services which use or contain the Swiss Ephemeris.
The names of the authors of the Swiss Ephemeris Software and of the
Copyright Holder may not be used to endorse or promote products or
services derived from or linking to the Swiss Ephemeris Software without
specific prior written permission.
This license file and the copyright notices in the source files are the
onlyplaces where the author's names may legally appear without specific
prior written permission.

                          Limitations of Liability

In no event shall the authors of the Swiss Ephemeris Software or their
employers be liable for any lost revenue or profits or other direct,
indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages, even if they
have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

                                No Warranty

The Swiss Ephemeris Software is provided AS IS with NO WARRANTY OF ANY

 Need to read a Debian etch installation walk-through?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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