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Re: RFS: spim

Paul Wise <pabs@debian.org> writes:

> On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 1:49 PM, Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> > This grants no permission to redistribute. What license from the
> > copyright holder does the Debian project have to redistribute this
> > in ‘non-free’?
> >
> > If the answer is “nothing explicit”, then the default copyright
> > restrictions prevent the Debian project from redistributing the work
> > at all.
> Looks like a Debian person contacted him about this a long time ago:
> http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/pool/non-free/s/spim/current/copyright
> IMO, the statement isn't particularly clear and I would not want
> Debian to rely on it.

Not only that, it isn't an explicit statement from the copyright holder
at all; it's someone else reporting in their own words:

    Note: James Larus has clarified his license in regards to how it
    relates to packaging and redistribution. He welcomes the packaging
    and redistribution via other media, as long as his copyright is
    retained and source code is distributed.

That's far from what we normally require: explicit written license in
the copyright holder's own words.

> I'd suggest that upstream should provide a clear statement for
> debian/copyright that Debian (and Ubuntu) is allowed to distribute
> spim. It is a shame he refuses to change the license to something free
> (as mentioned on IRC). If he has a PGP/GPG key to clearsign the
> statement with, that would be good too.

Perhaps the copyright holder doesn't realise that, if he grants
additional permissions that “welcome packaging and redistribution”, that
*is* changing the license (at least, the license as received by Debian).
The license terms become a union of what he's initially written plus
that extra permission statement.

Better to re-write the license terms in a single document. Best, of
course, to simply choose an existing, widely-understood free software
license, and explicitly grant all of the work's recipients the license
under those terms.

Since it seems the copyright holder wants to have as little hassle from
copyright licensing as possible, I would suggest the terms of the Expat
license <URL:http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt> as being brief,
easily-understood, and clearly free.

 \           “A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.” |
  `\                                            —Adlai Ewing Stevenson |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <ben@benfinney.id.au>

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