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Still about licensing...


On Tue, Aug 16, 2005 at 11:42:05AM -0400, Justin Pryzby wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 16, 2005 at 12:48:39PM +0200, Frederic Lehobey wrote:

> > So you think a Gentoo-like way of distributing the software would work
> > around the licensing issues?
> I'm not sure; if so, I guess it depends on the "end user" not redistributing
> the linked code, for some definition of redistributing.  Do I have to rerun ld
> on each machine with gnuplot+libreadline?  What if the machines have multiple
> users?  I should probably be careful to inform my users that
> /usr/{local/,}bin/gnuplot may not be copied, which is a bit difficult to understand, knowing that when I use a Debian machine, I see:
>   "The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;"
>   ...

I am not following you and would not take it for granted.  The
`freeness' of the software you got from Debian is guaranteed free (in
the sense of the DFSG) according to the Debian social contract, but
this does not prevent any other local adjustment by its admin on the
machine you are using.  And there is not anything in Debian that does
prevent installing any proprietary software on a Debian system (Debian
is focused on its users).   :-)
In some way linking gnuplot with readline, while legally possible,
turns them both into somewhat `proprietary' software (actually, more
precisely, impossible to distribute any more).

> > Is not the free software way of producing software a mimic of
> > the way of producing knowledge and science?
> Maybe; "GNU/Linux; The Peer-Reviewed OS".

Well actually, is it not even `The Users-Reviewed OS'?

> > I believe most of almost-free licenses for science software are the simple
> > consequence of ignorance or lack of concern for the copyright matters.
> > Binary distributions like Debian cannot overlook such problems.
> Maybe.  But I note that the inability of Debian to distribute a
> gnuplot+libreadline package is as much a "flaw" in the GPL as it is in
> the custom (?) license for gnuplot.  Each license is equally
> incompatible with the other.

I carefully chose my words in my patch in

> There are potentially many free licenses, many of which you may not be
> allowed to combine in the way you want.  Potentially, this means that
> you should not regard the GPL as a free license (for libraries?),
> because it limits what you can do.

Its puts limits on what you can do _when distributing_ (and only
then).  Will not go further into this (very old) debate.

Best regards,
Frederic Lehobey

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