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Re: whitakers-words_0.2020.10.27-1_multi.changes REJECTED

On 15944 March 1977, calumlikesapplepie wrote:

I thought this might happen: the license is unconventional, and I wasn't sure it would fly. I cc'ed debian-legal in this response: I'm pretty sure
the license is DFSG-free, but IANAL, and they can confirm in a way I

I'm curious to read other opinions.

The reason is the license. As usual, people should NOT write their
own. They are bound to fail.
To be fair, the software probably predates the GPL v1, and certainly the

That may be.

License: words-license
 This is a free program, which means it is proper to copy it and pass
 it on to your friends. Consider it a developmental item for which
 there is no charge. However, just for form, it is Copyrighted
(c). Permission is hereby freely given for any and all use of program
 and data. You can sell it as your own, but at least tell me.
 This version is distributed without obligation, but the developer
 would appreciate comments and suggestions.
 All parts of the WORDS system, source code and data files, are made
 available to anyone who wishes to use them, for whatever purpose.
This is not free. Going though it, it allows to copy/distribute stuff,
then it allows any kind of usage and selling. And then the first
mistake, it requires you to inform them. Thats repeated in a less
strict statement. And then it tells again that its available to anyone
to use it for whatever purpose.
I disagree. It requires you to inform them, yes, but only if you "sell it
as your own".  AFAIK, that is equivalent to saying "Inform me if you
distribute this without crediting me". That's a less strict version of the acceptable "Keep this copyright notice", since as long as we keep it,
we don't need to inform anyone.

It still fails and stays non-free, as its not a simple "Keep this (C)" line. Also, that it "only" asks you to do so when you sell it, makes no difference for the inclusion into main.

Further, the next sentence says that it is distributed "without
obligation": since you aren't obligated to do anything, it's explicitly in
the clear for the Dissident Test and the Desert Island Test.

Thats at minimum a contradiction inside the license.

In all of that they miss something important - you are not allowed to
I interpret the fact that it lets you use the source code for "whatever purpose" to mean that you can modify, compile, and distribute it. After all, source code doesn't have much of a use on its own, and a modification
is a use.
Supporting this idea is the fact that the WTFPL is considered GPL
compatible by the FSF. This is, in many ways, a more formal version of

No is not, the big difference for the WTFPL is that it actually lists all the neccessary rights, including allowing modification. The above does not.

So two mistakes, must tell them and no right to modify -> non-free.

Even if one goes down on the requirement to notify them, the right to modify stays missing.

Best would be if upstream changes to a well-known free license and
adds a polite hint that feedback would be nice, but not required. Then
it can go into main.
That's... difficult. The original author has been dead for a decade, and (AFAIK) the digital preservation efforts whose source I am using is not explicitly authorized by their heir. Upstream appears to be interpreting the license to mean that modification is OK, since they have done quite a bit of it: additionally, comments throughout the source code and original
website strongly indicate that the source was intended to be modified.

I hope this logic makes sense, and that it would hold up 'in court'.

Upstream often has a different opinion than we do. What kind of comments?

bye, Joerg

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