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Re: Automake (alpha) release request

From: Russ Allbery
Subject: Re: Automake (alpha) release request
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 01:18:03 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

"Bernd Jendrissek" <address@hidden> writes:

> If there are projects out there that urgently need a new automake, where
> the latest released version is not good enough, and if there is an
> expectation that the FSF lawyers might take a while still, then would it
> be feasible simply to release automake under the GPLv3 *without* those
> troublesome exceptions?  Doing so would not burden other free software
> projects which are already GPLv3 themselves.

This wouldn't be doing any favors for non-FSF projects that use Autoconf
and Automake, particularly given that such huge changes in licensing are
rather not what anyone would expect without a major version change.

Indeed, the configure and files generated by such an Autoconf
and Automake release may actually be illegal to distribute for many
non-FSF projects.  I can think of several of mine just off the top of my
head that would have that problem, due to m4 macros or other content that
is covered by a GPL-incompatible license (usually for historical reasons
that are nigh-impossible to change due to the impossibility of contacting
all past contributors).

I like that GNU projects don't assume that everything in the world is a
GNU project, and that's particularly important for the fundamental build
projects such as GCC, Autoconf, Automake, Libtool, and so forth.  Among
other things, it's a very important source of good-will and support for
the FSF among people who aren't so enamoured of the FSF project as to be
willing to make everything a GPL-covered GNU project but who are quite
willing to share code, bug reports, and general software infrastructure.

Russ Allbery (address@hidden)             <>

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