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E-Petition to free PhyLip - please sign (Re: Report from Debian Med sprint)

--> http://wiki.debian.org/DebianMed/Meeting/Southport2012/ePetition_Phylip

Hi Tim,

On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 05:47:11PM +0000, Tim Booth wrote:
> > 11) License checking
> >     I was suggesting an ePetition to free Phylip and wrote a first draft
> >     for it[6]
> I put my name to this already and also fixed a couple of typos in the
> text.

Great - I was hoping for such fixes!
> Since you said this is a draft I also made some changes - take them or
> revert them as you like...

I always love if people fix my bugs - no need to reintroduce them. :-)

> In the last paragraph you say it "would be helpful" to amend the license
> but really it is essential to do this in order to be in Debian as the
> license is clearly non-free.

For sure.
> You don't mention that other programs borrow from the code but are still
> bound by the non-free clauses.  To me this is the strongest point, that
> the Phylip authors probably did intend to share their code openly but in
> fact are using a non-standard license is causing real problems for other
> developers.

Good point.  Added SeaView as example to make the point even more clear.

> Not to mention the whole revenue thing is probably meaningless because
> "generating revenue" can technically include winning academic grants or
> charging for Bio-Linux courses, both of which we do.  And even if it was
> a meaningful clause it's probably unenforceable as a condition of
> redistribution since this is a restriction on usage ie. a EULA.  Etc.
> etc..

Right.  Do you want to add this argument to the petition text?

> I'm wondering how many other nearly-free things we'd like to free up,
> maybe not just in biology but science in general.  The UCSC genome
> browser source springs to mind.  Also SSAHA2 which is rendered
> closed-source by the incorporation of some UW cross_match code.  If the
> petition got somewhat bigger we might even get some "big names" to sign
> it.  But first things first.

This exactly was my intention.  Because I was directly confronted with
PhyLip I wanted to use this as kind of guinea pig how such kind of
petitions might work.  When we did discussed the issue at the meeting
the opinions about such a thing did vary and so my question about other
programs became void.  However, I think if nobody tries nothing will
happen.  So if anybody would subscribe here - even if not participant of
the meeting this would help.

Kind regards



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