[pkg-php-pear] Fwd: Re: Packaging Net:NNTP for Debian: small license issue

Thomas Goirand thomas at goirand.fr
Mon Aug 15 12:37:40 UTC 2011

On 08/15/2011 03:20 PM, Jan-Pascal van Best wrote:
> Hi all,
> php-net-nntp, which I'm packaging with help from Thomas, has a small
> license 'issue'. The source for a demo site contains the following in
> footer.inc.php:
> <div id="page-footer">
>  <hr />
>  <div class="copyright">
>   Copyright © 2005 by Heino H. Gehlsen. All rights reserved.
>  </div>
>  <div class="">
>   (<a
> href="http://cvs.php.net/viewcvs.cgi/pear/Net_NNTP/docs/examples/demo/">source
> code</a>)
>  </div>
> </div>
> The rest of the package is obviously W3C licensed.
> I've asked upstream about this. I'm forwarding his reply to the list so
> you all know and for archiving. I guess the following reply makes it OK to
> continue without the hassle of a separate dfsg source?
> Thanks for your help,
> Jan-Pascal

Hi Jan-Pascal,

Unfortunately, Debian people (and me included) wont like the wording of
upstream author here:

> I don't have the time for a package update/release at the moment, but for
> now I'll happily promise you that there will be absolutely no objections
> from me, should my contribution to PEAR end up as part of any free
> software distribution. I therefor grant you and any present and future
> Debian developer permission to redistribute any past, present or future
> releases of the mentioned module containing modified versions of the
> mentioned file and and any other file part of the demo. I even encourage
> modifying or replacing the mentioned file so it somehow mentions the
> Debian project.
> Should you be interested I'll even grant you maintainer rights the the
> module in PEAR…
> Kind regards,
> Heino H. Gehlsen

The part that bothers me is "I therefor grant *you* and any present and
future *Debian developer* permission to redistribute any past, present
or future releases of the mentioned module".

Saying that you, or any Debian developer, has some rights, isn't enough
for a software to enter main. We need to know that ANYONE (without any
restriction) has such right, otherwise, it makes the software non-free
since it is discriminating, and it's not complying with the DFSG (it
wont hurt to past the URL again: http://www.debian.org/social_contract).

Also, having such notice contradicting what you are going to write in
debian/copyright is bad practice at least, and maybe even totally wrong
(not sure how grave it can be considered). I don't know how other DD
would react, but when it comes to me, I wouldn't risk myself to upload
and having the ftp-masters be mad at me.

Please have upstream:
- release a version without the restriction
- clearly state that ANYONE has the rights of redistribution,
modification and son on... (usual Debian rules apply)

I'm quite sorry that I had to write all this, since it seems that
upstream has good intention. So it should be just be misunderstanding
from his side of how free Debian is, and it has to be cleared, IMHO.


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