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Re: License issues with Singular

On (15/09/06 16:51), Jordi Gutierrez Hermoso wrote:
> Hello, everyone.
> I'm trying to learn the process on how to become a Debian maintainer
> or developer (I don't even know if I'm using the right terms) because
> I really want to get Singular into the Debian distribution:
>     http://singular.uni-kl.de/

I've never used it, but it does look interesting.

> Someone else has already expressed interest in packaging it, perhaps
> we could package it together:
>     http://bugs.debian.org/383515

I saw this as well, and I was waiting to see if the two people made any
move on it. I'm glad someone has stepped forward to do something.
Perhaps you could mail the people from the bug and ask if they are

I would be willing to help you with the packaging, though as I say I've
never used the software, so I shouldn't get too involved.

> However, I think we've hit a snag with the DFSG. Although Singular
> itself is GPLed, its license has a clause that individual component's
> licences can override the GPL. There are two problematic licenses
> (which I have only found by downloading the original source tarball).
> One is the MP library, which forbids modifications for commercial
> purposes, and the other is the omalloc library, which forbids
> modifications by anyone who isn't one of "the copyright holders of
> Singular".

These both definately sound non-free, so I think you are right to be

> I have contacted the developers of the MP library, and they seem happy
> to provide a more permissive license. However, I have had no such luck
> contacting the author of the omalloc library, Olaf Bachmann. The only
> email address for him that I have been able to find has bounced
> (obachman@mathematik.uni-kl.de). I have also tried to contact the
> Singular developers about this issue, about a week ago, and yesterday
> again, but receiving no response yet.

This sounds like the right approach so far. If you can get relicensing
then it would be perfect. 

> Any suggestions what can be done? Singular's configure scripts seem to
> refuse to compile without the omalloc library. I'm getting impatient
> waiting for a response from the Singular development team, which did
> answer another question about usage relatively quickly.

As Steve suggests we can try and work around the problem, and substitute
another library. It would be good if we could get the libraries
relicensed though so we don't have to distribute a lesser package.

If you have anything resembling a package or a VCS then let me know and
I'll see if I can figure anything out.


  James Westby   --    GPG Key ID: B577FE13    --     http://jameswestby.net/
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