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

> > > -----------------
> > > 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
> > > freely
> > >  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.

I see we're interpreting "sell it as your own" differently.  I think you
are viewing it to mean "redistribute for cash": but if that were true, "as
your own" would be redundant.  I read it to mean "redistribute it,
claiming credit for the software".  That would mean if you simply sell it,
giving credit to him (as Debian does), there is no notification

> > 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.

It is certainly... problematic.  I could get creative with the formal tone
of this paragraph in contrast with the informal tone in the second, or
talk about the interpretation, but I'd probably just embarrass myself to
the lawyers.  However, if I was correct about the previous paragraph, I
don't think the contradiction would matter: since there wouldn't be any
obligation for our usecase, there can't be one for others

> > > In all of that they miss something important - you are not allowed
> > > to
> > > modify.
> > 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
> > that.
> 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.

The WTFPL is very explicit about the copyright on the license file itself:
that's the top half, where it enumerates redistribution of modified source
provided the new license isn't called the WTFPL.  But the only term that
actually applies to source is the 0th: "You just DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT

It does enumerate copying, distribution, and modification as possible
actions, in that it says the terms are for those actions.  But that's not
an exhaustive list, since it doesn't say you can actually use the code.

> > > 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.

But how does one 'use' source code without modifying it?  I suppose you
can compile it, but 

I did some research on 'developmental item' (because I had never seen that
term before), and it looks like Whitaker would have been familier with
Non-Developmental Items, since all the results relate to the US Airforce
that he was in.  Those are defined as "items which can be used with
minimal modification", which means he would see a developmental item as
one requiring modification.

> > > 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

"To port to new architectures, update this function" is the example I can
think of off the top of my head.  

HOWTO.txt (not yet included in Debian packaging) describes in detail how
to modify the data files.

I'm going to reach out to the upstream author, and see if he can weigh in
on this.  They might be able to relicense it, or at least clarify their
intentions.  The FSF says that for informal licenses like these, intention
is important (at least for the US), so that might help?

If none of that can happen, is it possible to distribute this in non-free? 
I know it's not terribly important, like intel-microcode, but it is a
fascinating piece of programming history nonetheless.

Thank you,

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