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Re: php5-xapian: PHP licence vs GPL

Olly Betts <olly@survex.com> wrote:
> For reference, this is #513796 in the BTS.

Will you summarise/link or should we cc?

> Steve Langasek:
>     There are several other PHP extensions in circulation that use GPLed
>     libraries, some of them distributed with the PHP source itself.  (The
>     readline extension is one example.)  Binaries for these modules can't be
>     distributed in Debian, but that doesn't mean you can't write a PHP
>     extension for a GPL library and distribute it on your own.
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.linux.debian.devel.legal/7867
> * Is the quote above an accurate summary of the currently accepted
>   interpretation?  (That mail is from 2003 so perhaps things have
>   changed since).

I think it's still accurate.  More recent links can be found in

The FSF seems to support the general idea of GPL-incompatibility in

> * If so, is there anything which can be done other than removing
>   php5-xapian from the archive?

Relicensing in some way.  It might not be simple or even possible, but
it seems like the only alternative I can see.  See
for a helpful guide.

> * Assuming php5-xapian must be removed from the archive, can the
>   xapian-bindings source package (which builds bindings for python,
>   ruby, etc too) continue to include (now unused) source code for it, or
>   do I need to prepare a special "dfsg" version of the upstream source
>   tarball without this code?  (I notice Steve says "binaries for these
>   modules", which hints that source may be OK).

http://trac.xapian.org/ticket/191 makes me think the combination only
happens at compile time, so including unused source would be OK.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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