[Haskell-cafe] Hackage and Free Software

Casey McCann cam at uptoisomorphism.net
Tue Mar 3 16:31:29 UTC 2015

On Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 6:59 AM, Erik Hesselink <hesselink at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 11:27 PM, Mike Meyer <mwm at mired.org> wrote:
> > Not quite. "OtherLicense" is an accepted license tag, and I take it to mean
> > I can use any license I want.
> That's not quite true, since AllRightsReserved is rejected. I think
> the idea is that hackage only wants to accept licenses where people
> can at least build and run that one package without any further
> restrictions. It's true that this is not documented anywhere or fully
> fleshed out, and it probably should be.

Yes, although that would require some decision or consensus on what we
expect to be able to do with code on Hackage...

My personal minimum expectation would be that anyone can always "cabal
install" anything and use it as-is without worrying about licensing.
Only when modifying code, writing code that pulls in multiple
dependencies, or uploading new code to hackage should licensing issues
really need to be considered.

For specific rules I suppose that would be something like requiring
that everything can be:
- Redistributed unmodified in source form
- Fetched and used locally with no restrictions
- Built without modification and distributed in binary form with no
restrictions beyond attribution and a link to Hackage
- Used and redistributed under the same license as any code it
contains FFI bindings to.

With all of the above taking into account the licenses of recursive
dependencies as well.

 In particular, I'd personally be willing to accept code on Hackage
that restricts redistribution with modifications, but probably not any
other kind of significantly "non-free" license. I'd also be okay with
Hackage rejecting packages that can't be used/redistributed due to
conflicting licenses among its dependencies.

- C.

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