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Re: non-gnu elpa issue tracking

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: non-gnu elpa issue tracking
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2020 02:58:57 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/2.0 (3d08634) (2020-11-07)

* Stefan Kangas <stefankangas@gmail.com> [2020-12-10 00:48]:
> MELPA requires a "GPL compatible license", according to
>     https://github.com/melpa/melpa/blob/master/CONTRIBUTING.org

That does not matter really. It is not specific and software is
distributed from various authors without license or notice about where
is license located. Author could still hypothetically say, no, I did
not give you the software and it is clear there was no license. But
there was Copyright sign that it was reserved. Very clear. And that
packages are distributed without license from MELPA also shows that
there is no clear policy.


It is mind bending. Even if they require from authors GPL compatible
license, nothing prevents MELPA to distribute proprietary software. I
know it is improbable intention, but that can happen. Case that
software have been conveyed from MELPA to users without license is
already legally serious issue. Practically less. But we have to look
at legal view points.

I know it is confusing and that practically all of those authors do
make free software. But without explicitly given license it is not

Additinally, the claim that MELPA requires GPL compatible license is
fine but not proven to factually be so for all packages. In other
words one cannot rely on MELPA to do the proper legal verification.

We have Linux kernel that was meant to be free and requires GPL code
but it is not free really due to inclusion of those proprietary
blobs. Then we have for similar reason fully free GNU/Linux operating
systems endorsed by FSF on www.gnu.org Among them, several have their
tracking systems where developers inspect what is free, what is not
free, and may exclude software for reasons of freedom or
non-conclusive licenses. Example is pip Python package manager that
includes many UNKNOWN licenses. That is non-free and such package
cannot drive people to non-free software and is excluded from some of
those OS-es.

So if you find some package on MELPA and there is no license, then
maybe there is license in the original package and headers and package
need to be improved, so it is better looking into their original
repositories. It can be that MELPA changed some packages or did not
take the license properly.

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