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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
"document").

> 
> 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
and
 (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
copying/distributing/modifying.

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?

-- 
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..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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