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Re: Report from Debian Med sprint

Hi Andreas,

> 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

Since you said this is a draft I also made some changes - take them or
revert them as you like...

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.

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

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.

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.



To Err is human.
To Arrr is Pirate!

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