[Pkg-e-devel] license issue with embryo

Xavier Oswald x.oswald at free.fr
Mon Mar 3 13:02:34 UTC 2008

On 21:46 Fri 29 Feb     , Xavier Oswald wrote:
> Hi there,
> I have asked the upstream author of the famous file in embryo annoying us for
> having it uploaded to debian ...
> On 16:14 Fri 29 Feb     , Thiadmer Riemersma wrote:
> > Hello Xavier Oswald,
> >
> > I distribute my source code under the zlib/libpng license. I started  
> > putting on this license in the second half of 200. Probably embryo was  
> > forked off the Small branch just before. As far as I am concerned, the  
> > older sources also fall under the zlib/libpng license.
> >
> > Embryo is based on Small. Small (which is now call Pawn) is in turn  
> > based on "Small C" is published in the book "Dr. Dobb's Toolbook of C",  
> > 1986 (Brady Books). That book says (page 161):
> >
> > 	This version of Small-C is copyrighted; nevertheless, it
> > 	is available to the general public for use without formal
> > 	restrictions. Take it, use it, copy it, modify it, and
> > 	give it away as you please. However, be sure to preserve
> > 	the copyright notices. I am distributing Small-C under
> > 	the user-supported concept, so if you obtain a "free"
> > 	copy and find it useful, send a registration form and
> > 	$20 to the author. You must obtain written permission
> > 	to sell Small-C for more than your actual cost for media,
> > 	packaging, and postage.
> >
> > That said, Small was actually based on the 8088 port distributed by BYTE  
> > magazine in 1988, and that version is marked "public domain".
> >
> > Also, there is not much code left from Small-C. This was already true in  
> > 2003, and it is even more so now. I have been keeping the copyrights in  
> > the source code because Small is still using the concept of implementing  
> > a recursive descent parser with function pointers looked up from a  
> > table, which is how Ron Cain and James Hendrix implemented it in  
> > Small-C. I do not know whether a concept is copyrightable, but Ron Cain  
> > and James Hendrix deserve credit for the idea, of course.
> >
> > The compression algorithm in embryo_cc_scexpand.c was published in C  
> > Users Journal in September 1997 by Philip Cage. There is no specific  
> > license attached to that article.

I got some other informations.

In addition to my earlier e-mail, on further searching I stumbled on the
web site of James E. Hendrix, who put a statement on the page
http://www.oxaero.com/Jim.asp telling that the Small-C sources are in the
public domain.

According to Wikipedia, Ron Cain also donated his work to the public
domain (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small-C).

So that leaves just Philip Gage, whose "byte pair encoding" algorithm is
used. I have not been able to find out what the license is of source code
published in C User's Journal. If desired, this code can be removed (it's
only purpose was to reduce memory requirements for the DOS build of the
compiler), but I do not maintain the Embryo source code.

Kind regards,
Thiadmer Riemersma

  ,''`.  Xavier Oswald <x.oswald at free.fr>                   
 : :' :  GNU/LINUX Debian Maintainer                        
 `. `'   GnuPG Key ID 0x88BBB51E                            
   `-    938D D715 6915 8860 9679  4A0C A430 C6AA 88BB B51E 
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