[Haskell-cafe] Hackage and Free Software

fr33domlover fr33domlover at riseup.net
Sun Mar 1 09:03:10 UTC 2015

Hello Mike,

I think there's some confusion here. I wan't talking about GPL compatible
licenses, but about *any* free software license!

It looks like Creative Commons licenses may apply too, in particular the
version 4 ones. CC by 4 is even GPL-compatible.

The same for EPL and CDDL! Check out this:


Both are free sofware licenses. GPL compatibility isn't the issue here :)

On Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:18:23 -0600
Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org> wrote:

> And what if I want something like the CDDL or the EPL? Those are both
> licenses that the OSI says are popular.

The FSF approves them as well, like I said.

> You're addressing the nits, not the core issue I tried to raise:
> placing restrictions on what licenses (or lack thereof) are acceptable
> will discourage people from making software available via Hackage.

I don't think it will, because people are already making free software. Look at
other existing hosting services - they're *full* of free software! This is what
people are making anyway. All I suggest is to make it official, providing a
guarantee so people know each `cabal install` indeed installs only free

> >
> > This will allow people to upload first, and then think and understand the
> > licensing situation. Once they do, they can properly tag their project.
> Could
> > that work?
> I don't know. I suspect that if you do that, a lot of people would
> never bother tagging their packages. Would that work for you?

They probably will, actually: There is a huge number of packages - I don't know
how many - which have license tags. All the license tags on Hackage except for
the all-rights-reserved one are FOSS licenses, so all of these would instantly
become available as guaranteed free software packages.

How many free software packages on Haskell don't have license tags?

> You also talk like free/non-free was a binary decision, when it
> isn't. The OSI lists licenses that aren't compatible with the GPL -
> like the aforementioned EPL and CDDL. People releasing software under
> one of those will want to avoid GPL licensed software, whereas people
> releasing GPL licensed software will want to avoid those licenses, but
> they are all free.

Indeed they are all free, and the FSF approves them officially as well. MIT,
BSD, Apache, EPL, CDDL, GPL, AGPL, LGPL... all of these are free software

> Or I may not care. If I build a binary that uses one package that's
> GPL-licensed and one that uses an incompatible OSI-approved license, I
> can distribute my source under whatever terms I want, because my
> source doesn't include source from those packages. I can build and run
> binaries myself with no problems, and that may be fine. But I can't
> distribute binaries because I can't satisfy both licenses
> simultaneously, and that may not be acceptable.
>       <mike

That's true, but eventually you wouldn't want to do that. I mean, if you build
some program, you'd be happy to have it packaged for distros and make binary
releases for people who don't want to build from source.

This is essentially the question I'm asking the community: do you care about
the packages being free software, allowing legal distribution of binaries?
Specifically, would you make a step forward and make it official, build-in
into Hackage?

Note that it's also okay if some people - I would volunteer for this - go over
the new releases in Hackage periodically, and make sure the licenses are okay
and fix tags if needed. This is a parallel to GNU/Linux distrbutions make sure
the software is free, fix related problems, move nonfree software into separate
repos or remove them, and so on.

-- fr33domlover

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