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Re: debhelper and GPL

Jean-Christophe Dubacq <jcdubacq1@free.fr> writes:

> While conducting routine reading, I saw that debhelper is released
> under the GPL license. Since debhelper includes bits of itself in the
> package it manages, does this mean that I cannot use debhelper for
> packaging something that would be GPL-incompatible?

License compatibility for two distinct works matters only when
considering a work that would need to satisfy the terms of both

Under US copyright jurisdiction, this would matter when one work is
considered a “derived work” of the other; similar concepts occur in
other jurisdictions AFAIK.

> I know that for fonts, one has to make exceptions stating that PDF
> documents embedding GPL fonts are not covered by the GPL, why should
> it be different for debhelper?

For a PDF document that contains fonts, it seems clear to me that the
PDF document is a derived work of the fonts, since it builds a new work
that isn't meaningfully separable from the fonts. That's why in that
case the compatibility of the license terms is important.

In the case of debhelper's generated files, the files that come from
‘examples/’ and ‘autoscripts/’ are explicitly placed in the public
domain as specified in the copyright file for ‘debhelper’. Are there
other parts that concern this question?

 \      “Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done |
  `\                                            for me?” —Groucho Marx |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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