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Re: Debian package for Elmer - Re: ITP: Elmer -- Finite element software for multiphysics problems

On Fri, 2008-11-14 at 21:50 +0100, Francesco Poli wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Nov 2008 08:57:40 -0500 Adam C Powell IV wrote:
> [...]
> > On Thu, 2008-11-13 at 23:49 +0200, Mikko Lyly wrote:
> [...]
> > Indeed, you're fine as far as your distribution is concerned; as far as
> > I can tell no GPL code in the fem directory written by others which is
> > linked to ARPACK.  As the Elmer copyright holder, you just need to abide
> > by the ARPACK license, and can do whatever you want with the Elmer code.
> > 
> > But if Debian redistributes it, and the code changes hands, the owner of
> > the Elmer copyright can in theory restrict Debian from distributing it.
> [...]
> > > LGPL for Elmer is unfortunately not possible at the moment, but an GLP
> > > exception might be taken under consideration.
> > > 
> > > How would you like to see the exception be documented for being
> > > compatible with Debian policies?
> > 
> > I'm afraid I don't have enough experience with this to give good advice
> > here.  Can someone on debian-legal perhaps provide an example of a
> > copyright statement which provides such an GPL exception?
> Hi Adam, hi everyone else!

Hi Francesco!

> [I am keeping you and the other addresses in Cc:, since you asked to be
> Cc:ed in the past and I suppose the other people are not subscribed to
> debian-legal]

Thanks, no need for me since I subscribe to debian-science.

> If I understand correctly, the issue is that Elmer, which is
> distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL, links against ARPACK, which
> is available under GPL-incompatible and non-free terms.
> The distributability issue may be solved with a GPL exception granted
> from Elmer copyright holders, as long as no other purely GPL'ed code is
> included in or linked with Elmer.  That is to say, *each* copyright
> holder of GPL'ed code included in or linked with Elmer must agree with
> the GPL exception.

To clarify: each copyright holder of GPL'ed code in the binary/binaries
which link with ARPACK needs to agree.  As mentioned, my review of the
fem directory showed that CSC owns the copyright to all of the code in
question (ElmerSolver, libelmersolver, all of the equation plugins).

> Assuming that all such copyright holders agree, the
> canonical example GPL linking exception is detailed at
> http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs

Thanks, I was not aware of this.

> On the other hand, I think you (Adam) are aware that this solution
> would force Elmer to be placed in the contrib Debian archive (rather
> than in main),

Yup, my pre-upload package is already in contrib.

> with the additional inconvenience that ARPACK has now
> been removed from Debian:  http://bugs.debian.org/497900

I re-uploaded it into non-free a couple of days ago.

> I would recommend getting in touch with ARPACK upstream maintainers and
> persuading them to relicense ARPACK under DFSG-free and GPL-compatible
> terms (a 3-clause BSD license would be an optimal suggestion).

Indeed, will do.

> I hope this helps.

It helps a lot!

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