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Bug#431883: dcraw license does not give permission to distribute modified versions or source alongside

On Fri, 06 Jul 2007, Steve King wrote:
> > You'll notice that we have no permission to distribute modified
> > versions of dcraw.c as required by the DFSG.
> I don't agree with you here. It seems to me that we do have
> permission to distribute modified versions, provided source is
> included.

The license does not explicitely grant the ability to create a
derivative work and distribute that work. It merely talks about
"lawfully redistributing this code".

Since it fails to specifically grant that right, we must assume that
the default state ("All rights reserved") applies.

> > Secondly, it appears that we must include full source code if
> > we've modified dcraw.c, but we don't do that. We distribute source
> > alongside.
> All that is required in this license is a link to David's home page.
> The build process does not modify the file dcraw.c, so the footnote
> clause is applicable to this version of dcraw that would be included
> in debian.

dcraw.c itself isn't currently modfied, but the package does form a
derivative work at some level. You can likely argue either way, but
given that a need to apply a security patch to dcraw would cause us to
run afoul of the license makes it rather problematic from where I'm

If the intent is to create a patch only clause, see the LPPL for an
example of a patch clause which is permissible.

In any case, please contact the upstream author and have him clarify
the license situtation.

An explicit licencing under the GPL would resolve all of this for us;
Dave Coffin would still be free to offer it under additional terms if
he so desired.

If you need help drafting the message, let me know.

Don Armstrong

An elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.
 -- Robert Heinlein _Time Enough For Love_ p244

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

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