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Re: Seeking advice on Pan license issue with optional TLS component

Hi Dominique,

On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 02:26:18PM +0100, Dominique Dumont wrote:
> Here's a summary of the issue for debian-legal folks. Pan package on Debian 
> got bug #699892 because Pan GPLv2 only is linked with gnutls LGPLv3, which is 
> not permitted by FSF. Pan folks are willing to re-license Pan to GPLv2 and 
> later. But getting copyright owner authorisation for all software components 
> copied into Pan is a big problem: there's no obvious contact for some of these 
> components.

> Reading http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation, I think we 
> may not need to re-license all components of pan code. 

> Pan is made of several part. Some parts like uulib or e-*-dialog.c are 
> integrated in Pan by source code copy. Other parts like gnutls are integrated 
> with dynamic linking (optionaly).

> To respect the license terms, I think we need to check the compatibility 
> between parts when the parts are actually working together (i.e. some data is 
> exchanged directly between these 2 components).

> I.e. we need to check that:
> - Pan license is compatible with gnutls license
> - Pan license is compatible with e-*-dialog.c (and others)

> but we don't need to ensure that e-*dialog.c license is compatible with
> gnutls license because these 2 parts work independently (well, I think so,
> you Pan guys should be able to confirm easily).

As I understand it, these e-*-dialog.c components are all linked into a
single binary, /usr/bin/pan.  If so, I don't think there's any grounds for
claiming that this is "mere aggregation".  Linking object files together
into an executable binary is absolutely in scope for the kinds of things
that the GPL is designed to guard against.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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