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Re: Open-source library proxying to a closed-source library (ITP #679504)

On Sat, 7 Jul 2012 16:12:32 +0200 Christophe-Marie Duquesne wrote:

> Hi,

Hello Christophe-Marie,

> I am the author of an open-source library that proxy calls to a
> closed-source library.

I am sorry to say this, but I think that the time of a competent
developer would be far better spent in writing Free Software, rather
than in building "proxies" having the sole purpose of making it easier
to use proprietary software...   :-(

> I have asked about the potential copyright issues about this library
> in various places (wine, fsf, debian-mentors). The average answers I
> get are:
> - "We are not lawyers, but it looks ok - see Oracle vs Google trials"
> - "If you have the same header it's derived work, it's not ok".

I am not sure which of the two is the correct answer, since, well, I am
not a lawyer!
I think you should really seek legal advice from a hired lawyer, in
order to obtain (hopefully) less vague answers...

> The question I have for you is very simple: What would it take for
> debian to accept my package (if it can ever be distributed)?

Accept your package where?

I don't think it could ever qualify for Debian main, since your proxy
library is useless in the absence of the proprietary library and the
Debian Policy mandates that packages in main cannot require or
recommend packages outside of main for compilation or execution [1].

[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html#s-main

It could *maybe* qualify for the contrib archive [2], as long as it is
determined to be (legally redistributable and) compliant with the DFSG
(even though I see that it is licensed under the terms of the EPL, a
license that I personally dislike...).

[2] http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html#s-contrib

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