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Please use a free license for blimps and sift

Dear Andreas,

The Henikoffs and I received your email about regarding changing the license of blimps and SIFT to GPL. We are willing to consider it if SIFT can be easily distributed. Do you have a working version of SIFT on debian? 

My old version of SIFT uses a very old version of blast and calls a binary of blimps --I think the source code has been since lost.

If you can can confirm that SIFT works in debian, then Dr. Henikoff will talk to the FHCRC tech transfer office to start the process.




I'm writing you on behalf of the Debian Med team which is a group inside Debian with the objective to make Debian the best distribution for biology and medical care.  We try to package free software that is relevant in these fields for main Debian.


You might know that there are packages of blimps and sift for some time which are not part of the official Debian distribution due to its license which is considered non-free since it violates the Debian Free Software Guidelines[1].  We would really make blimps and sift part of the official Debian distribution which has several advantages for users as well even for you as developers since the wider spreading of your code might lead to enhancements that will be send to you.


We would like you to reconsider the restriction under the following



 - Did you earned a mentionable amount of money by selling mssstest


 - Do you consider that anybody else would earn a mentionable amount

   of money by selling a freely licensed program?

 - Would you agree that it is in the interest of mssstest code and

   the users to have a free distribution inside Debian?


Please keep in mind that the restriction implies that the programs cannot be included as part of a distribution that is sold (even if it's just to compensate for the cost of the storage media).  Your intention is almost certainly to prevent people to sell the program standalone.


To our experience authors who used this kind of license (for instance Joe Felsenstein as author of PHYLIP) did not considered this as a success.  May be you reconsider the license to choose some free license like GPL; BSD or MPL - feel free to discuss this here on our mailing list.


It would be great if you would simply drop the restriction and enable us to integrate blimps and sift into Debian properly.


Kind regards





[1] https://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines




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