Pedantic but important question about tracediff license

Tim Booth
  • Tim Booth
    Tim Booth


    The Debian-Med team and I would like to put STADEN into the main Debian archive so that all Debian/Ubuntu/Mint users have easy access to it as a package via apt-get, but the eagle-eyed DFSG (Debian Free Software Guildelines) enforcers have spotted the following in tracediff/main.cpp which they think is ambiguous:

    "Permission to use, copy, modify and distribute this software and its
    documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee..."

    I'd interpret this as saying "You can freely redistribute this code and we [MRC, the copyright holders] will not try to charge you any fee."

    But they say it means "You can redistribute this code but you are prohibited from charging any fees related to the distribution."

    This is rather important to Debian, who want to be clear on exactly what the licensing terms are on the software they redistribute. Is it possible that someone could say who actually wrote this code (James Bonfield?) and quickly clarify what is the true intention of the license statement?

    Many thanks,


  • James Bonfield
    James Bonfield

    I didn't personally write it, but was at MRC-LMB at the time it was written. The intention is for it to be free in a BSD style manner. I'll just copy the root LICENCE.txt MRC entry.

    Thanks for reporting it.