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[task #15752] Can we allow non-free software in maneage? if yes, then ho

From: Boud Roukema
Subject: [task #15752] Can we allow non-free software in maneage? if yes, then how?
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2020 14:45:59 -0400 (EDT)
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0

Follow-up Comment #6, task #15752 (project reproduce):

hi Mohammedreza, I'm answering this separately for clarity :).

[comment #3 comment #3:]
> Two day ago, Mohammad and I had a chat over this that if we keep Maneage GPL
licensed, wouldn't it be possible for someone who uses non-GPL licensed
software to _use_ Maneage in their project and even _release_ the GPL part?
> I believe the answer to both questions are yes.

I think so too - many of the packages that we download/compile/install are
free software but not GPL, and some are probably free software but
> I will put forward these questions:
> * let's say you have written a bash script and you have used grep, which is
GPL licensed, inside your script, do you have to license your script with GPL?

The guidelines (as you link to below) insist that the _result_ of
running a program is not covered by copyright. The result of reading a book 
is not a copyright issue. So I would say "No".

> A script is open source in nature, so you can do whatever you want with it,
no questions asked. There is no need to extend or tailor this analogy to our
case because it is already tailored, in its current form, to our case: we have
a GPL licensed script (like grep) and someone else might wanna use it in
his/her own project where s/he is using proprietary software, 

Just two corrections there: a script is not necessarily either
open-source-definition licensed, nor free-software licensed. Secondly, 'grep'
in Maneage is a binary, not a script. :)
> * does s/he need to license his/her project with GPL? Well, certainly not.
But of course with enough precautions and measures not to deny our right of
> **
> **
> **
> * Is s/he releasing the source code of the propriety software? of course

There's plenty of non-free software which is not fully proprietary (GNU/FSF
probably disagrees, but I think most people would agree that there's a
spectrum). But if someone wanted to download/compile/install or
download/install a non-free, even fully proprietary program, that would be up
to him/her to decide if that's consistent with the non-free conditions in the
licence. In fact, in principle a web server may require a login or an online
signing of a terms-of-agreement statement. That's up to the people developing
that to work out how to handle - and for them to contact legal people if
they're worried.

I agree - someone doing that would have to be careful not to risk the overall
default GPL and other free-licensed aspects of Maneage.

I think the links you gave are very useful, and a key part is:

However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside
your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free
and nonfree programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in
a way that would make them effectively a single program.

So I think that making any _non-free_ (better _non-free_ than _not-free_, for
consistency with wider usage) components well separated, *at arm's length*, is
what we would need.

For example, in parallel to _high-level.mk_, we would have _non-free.mk_ . We
would probably also have to modify _project_ , maybe to have both _./project
make_ and ./project make non-free_, , for example. I think that Debian would
be a good example to follow.


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