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

On Wednesday 30 June 2010 23:27:41 Francesco Poli wrote:
> > 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.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate it :)

In fact I'm trying to do it with both Aqsis and K3D (apart from helping with 
OpenSceneGraph since months ago) so they can hopefully be ready for next 

> > > 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").

Replying in next paragraph...

> > 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.

That's what I think, too.

But apart from that, the thing is that I'm trying to get this into testing 
with time enough for the freeze.

> > >  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...

First of all, I need to talk to the author personally when he's available, 
but I think that this script is not useful to be shipped in a binary anyway, 
so it's not clear to me why it should be there.  Think of it as a plugin 
that you have to copy/import/whatever-is-called into Blender modeler so 
Bender is able to export to .xad format, or invoke Aqsis as rendered of the 
scene previously modeled in Blender.  Or a GIMP plugin to save in new image 
format .ghda.  As I understand it, it's of no use unless you have Houdini 
installed, and then you have to install it in Houdiny as a plugin (not sure 
if compiled in some way, or not processed at all).

Maybe they should provide a separate package with it and that's all, and not 
bothering shipping it in normal source packages of the rest of Aqsis, and 
thus avoid installing it with normal CMake building system.

If upstream agrees that removing is a good option for them (anybody can pick 
up the script from their website, should they want to use it and have that 
Houdini software installed), that's fine for me (for the time being, given 
the constraints of the upcoming freeze).

They're about to release a new stable version soon (but not soon enough for 
the freeze, hopefully -- for Debian's sake!), so the next months could be 
used to clear these things out.  Probably I can convince them to use a more 
sensible license than CC-whatever and everything (don't know much about it, 
but I trust you and that's not very well suited for software anyway).

So for now, the main questions are:

1) I should still remove it from orig.tar.gz, otherwise Debian would 
continue distributing it and potentially breaking the license, right?

2) Should I do anything special other than that?  Explain the case in a 
README.Debian?  Name the orig.tar.gz in a specific way?  Use 'dfsg' in the 
name of orig.tar.gz, source or binary packages in some ways.

> [...]
> > > 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.

Agree again.  I'll ask them about this, too, but in the short term probably 
removing is the solution.  I think that they might drop it from future 
versions, at least the windows one, since they have already binaries in the 
same package to show the rendered result in a FLTK window, which is supposed 
to be multi-platform.

> [...]
> > <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?

"Aqsis is a cross-platform photorealistic 3D rendering solution, adhering to 
the RenderMan interface standard defined by Pixar Animation Studios."


This is the actual header of one of the shaders:

$ head -7 shaders/surface/metal.sl 
/* metal.sl - Standard metal surface for RenderMan Interface.
 * (c) Copyright 1988, Pixar.
 * The RenderMan (R) Interface Procedures and RIB Protocol are:
 *     Copyright 1988, 1989, Pixar.  All rights reserved.
 * RenderMan (R) is a registered trademark of Pixar.

I tried to find the answers in Pixar's website, but I found none.  I think 
that it's a kind of OpenGL, but I don't know if things like "All rights 
reserved" means that they can forbid people using them, like the (already 
several) FOSS implementations (aqsis, pixie, jrman).

Cheers, and thanks for your patience.
Manuel A. Fernandez Montecelo <manuel.montezelo@gmail.com>

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