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Re: Plugins for non-free software in orig.tar.gz

On Wed, 30 Jun 2010 01:49:39 +0200 Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo wrote:

> On Wednesday 30 June 2010 00:48:45 Francesco Poli wrote:
> > > I packaged Aqsis recently:
> > > http://packages.debian.org/source/unstable/aqsis
> > 
> > Thank you for doing so: it looks like an interesting tool...
> Actually it was already packaged long ago, I'm just packaging the latest 
> version since the maintainer has been unattending it for years.

This is even more appreciated: in many cases, adopting an (officially
or de-facto) orphaned package may be more useful to Debian than
packaging new software!
At least, IMHO.

> > I think the key questions here are:
> > 
> >  0) does the plugin itself comply with the DFSG?
> It doesn't have any copyright line, other than:
> # This document is under CC-3.0 Attribution-Share Alike 3.0                                                                                              
> #       http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/                                                                                                   
> # Attribution:  There is no requirement to attribute the author.                                                                                         
> in RIBaqsis1.6.py

Not a good start.

Apart from the fact that I don't personally consider CC-by-sa-v3.0
acceptable for Debian main (but ftp-masters disagree, so this is
another story...), CC-by-sa-v3.0 is not a recommendable license for
interpretable scripts, and anyway, it doesn't look like the comment is
talking about the licensing of the script (it seems to talk about a

> The author as far as I know is from Aqsis Team, everything is released under 
> GPL or LGPL.

I think the Aqsis Team should clarify the licensing of those plugin
scripts: who owns the copyright and which license was chosen is not
clear to me.

> >  1) does the plugin require anything outside of main for compilation?
> It doesn't seem to need compilation, they're python scripts (or a variant 
> called "hython"), .bat and .sh scripts...
> >  2) does the plugin constitute a secondary feature of aqsis?
> > 
> > I suppose the answer to question number 2 is affirmative, since you say
> > that you can disable it, and that it's not that important...
> Sure, the project leader told me also that there would be no problem in 
> removing it...

I personally think that, *if* the licensing is clarified and is found
to comply with the DFSG, *then* a small collection of DFSG-free
scripts, that
 (a) do not require anything outside of main during the package build
 (b) add a non-core functionality related to a proprietary program
may stay in a package distributed in main.

At least, this is how I understand the Debian Policy.
If anyone knows better, please correct me!

Of course, the quickest and easiest solution, until the licensing is
clarified, is dropping the scripts from the package...

> > Another question, before I forget.
> > The debian/copyright file for aqsis
> > http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/pool/main/a/aqsis/aqsis_1.6.0-1.1/a
> > qsis.copyright
> > 
> > states:
> > | Copyright for 'sdcBMP/d_sdcBMP.cpp' and 'sdcWin32/d_sdcWin32.cpp' under
> > | 'tools/displays/' directory:
> > | -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > | --------- COPYRIGHT
> > | 
> > | Copyright 2000 by Schroff Development Corporation, Shawnee-Mission,
> > | Kansas, United States of America. All rights reserved.
> > | 
> > |   *********************************************************************
> > |   *******
> > | 
> > | This Display Driver is distributed as "freeware". There are no
> > | restrictions on its' usage.
> > I cannot see any permission to distribute and/or sell these two files
> > (DFSG#1); also, I cannot see any permission to modify (DFSG#3).
> > Hence, it seems to me that those two files fail to comply with the
> > DFSG, and should consequently be removed from the package, if at all
> > possible, or substituted by DFSG-free replacements.
> > 
> > Or am I missing something?
> Well, that was already in the previous 1.2 version of Aqsis that has been in 
> Debian repositories for years, I didn't put much attention to it.  I 
> understand "freeware" and "no restrictions on usage" and the rest of the 
> copyright as a generic/lazy way of saying that they don't care about what's 
> done with them (other than misrepresent them, etc).  But you may know 
> better, since probably similar license issues arose in the past?

The term "freeware" is ambiguous at best: different people may mean
different things, when they use this word.
Also, "usage" does not clearly include activities such as

The license for those files is at least very unclear.

If those files may not be dropped without bad consequences, I think a
re-licensing should be asked to the copyright owner(s), or, as I
previously suggested, DFSG-free replacements should be searched for.

> <mafm> pgregory: also, what happens with the shaders?
> <mafm> they're copyright of Pixar :S
> <pgregory> not much we can do about that, if we dont' ship them we're not 
> compliant.
> <mafm> but under which license are they?
> <pgregory> I don't think Pixar actually specify a license, if they do, I'm 
> not aware of it.
> <mafm> if they can't be distributed, in example, aren't you in possible 
> trouble?
> <mafm> or they do intend to be distributed?
> <pgregory> they can be distributed, with the copyright intact.
> <mafm> hmm, no problem then
> <mafm> copyrights should always be intact anyway :)

Wait, are you saying that a part of aqsis is copyrighted by Pixar and
does not even have an explicit permission to redistribute (let alone
sell, modify, and all the other important freedoms)?

Or am I misinterpreting the conversation you quoted?

 Need some pdebuild hook scripts?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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