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Re: GPL "+" question

Le Fri, May 29, 2015 at 09:32:12AM +0200, Ole Streicher a écrit :
> I just had a discussion with an ftp-master who rejected one of my
> packages. The package in question is "missfits". It contains a
> directory, src/wcs/ with files that were originally released by Mark
> Calabretta under LGPL-2+, but changed by the upstream author (Emmanuel
> Bertin) and released in the package under GPL-3+.
> debian/copyright currently mentions only GPL-3+ for the whole package.
> The ftp-master now asked me to add GPL-2+ for these files to
> debian/copyright. But I think that this would be wrong, since the files
> under src/wcs are not distributable under GPL-2+ (because they contain
> GPL-3+ code from Emmanuel Bertin).
> Do I miss an important point here?

Hi Ole,

I am also surprised by this request (isn't there a typo with a "L" missing in
front of "GPL-2+" ?).

The README in src/wcs contains:

  > This directory contains a modified version of the WCSlib V2.2 library by Mark
  > Calabretta <mcalabre@atnf.csiro.au>, released under the GNU Lesser General
  > Public License.  The original version was downloaded from
  > ftp://ftp.cv.nrao.edu/fits/src/wcs/.  See
  > http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/mcalabre/WCS/wcslib for more details.

Here, the author of missfits says that he modified the copy of the WCSlib that
he redistributes with the sources of missfits.

In addition, he added a GPLv3+ header on top of each file.

Unfortunately, WCSlib version 2.2 is so old that I could not find a pristine
copy on the Internet to confirm that each file was really modified.

If it were me, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the upstream author of
missfits, and trust him that if he added a GPLv3+ header, it is because he
modified the files, as he says in the README.

In that case, the license to be indicated in debian/copyright should be GPLv3+.

Have a nice week-end,


Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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