Template for letters about software without licence v2
Thanks to Christian, Justin, Filippo, Steffen, and James, here is the version 2.I have saved it in the wiki.
Dear <upstream author>:
We are working on creating a set of packages of free software related to
molecular and computational biology for the Debian GNU operating system . We
would love to include a Debian package of <software in question> so that it can
be used by the growing number of biologists who use Debian as a work platform.
Unfortunately, we could not find the licence of <software in question> in
either website nor in its sources. In the countries which have ratified the
Berne convention on copyright , its redistribution is not permitted if not
allowed explicitely by a license.
We are therefore wondering if you would consider releasing <software in
question> as a free software. This would allow us to package it for
distribution along with the rest of the Debian system. The ability to include
software in Debian depends on consistency of its license with the Debian
Free Software Guidelines .
Debian distributes software packages with many different licenses, so there is
no single Debian license. Some of the more common free software licenses
are the GNU GPL, the Lesser GPL, the revised BSD, Artistic,MIT and
Mozilla licenses. You might wish to read through a few of them,
available here: http://www.opensource.org/licenses/
Unless you have specific needs, we would strongly recommend that you choose a
widespread licence, as there is a broad consensus on how they should be
interpreted. For free software, the GNU General Public Licence (GPL)  and
the revised licence of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD)  are very
popular choices. Their main difference is that the GPL insists on derived work
to be free software as well, while the BSD licence allows derived work to be
distributed with other code for which the source code is not freely
It is important, that none of these licences contains restrictions on
commercial or non-commercial uses. For example, the software which is available
for free only for academic users is not free software. While in some cases,
like collaborations with for-profit partners, such licences can be relevant, we
would like to discourage their use if there is no economic rationale behind. In
particular, our current effort is to create a distribution of free software for
biologists, from sequencing genome to the modelling of interaction networks,
and we would like to avoid distributing together software with and without
restrictions on commercial use, in order to target the broadest public.
Finally, let us make it clear that we are not speaking on behalf of the
Debian Project. However, we would be very happy to be able to package
<software in question> for Debian along with the rest of the packages
related to molecular and computational biology that we are distributing.
Thank you for your consideration,
> Remember to thank upstream profusely if they re-license under a
> DFSG-compatible license. Even if they refuse, thank them for their
> time and consideration of your request.