Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 972251
python-lamson has incorrect License tag
Last modified: 2013-06-25 13:09:53 EDT
rpm -qi python-lamson states the license as GPLv3, however the LICENSE file appears to be a modified version of the BSD license.
Also, this license appears to have a rather worrying clause:
5. The copyright holder reserves the right to revoke this license on anyone who
uses this copyrighted work at any time for any reason.
Strange. It was certainly under GPL before.
The author even wrote a long post explaining his rationale. The current license appears non-free however.
What would be the our step in this situation, should we ask author to make required changes to License file or we have to drop that package from fedora repo?
When I first realised Lamson had this license I did try contacting the author in the #lamson IRC channel on Freenode, but received no response.
I have since made a fork of the last GPLv3 version of Lamson, however it now relies on a library not yet packaged for Fedora. The fork is here:
Obviously, it is missing all the bug fixes from the last year :(
I sent a mail about this issue to author, I am hoping he will response back. I don't think it's a good idea to use older source release which don't have latest bug fixes.
Below response which I got from author.
copying from Mail:
You should probably just pull the project from fedora and not include
it, as my license is retroactive and removes the GPLv3 license I had before.
Sorry but this is my right as a copyright holder and since nobody has given me
an exchange for the license it's not a contract and I can cancel it at any
Again, sorry for the harshness of the stance but I'm pretty adamant about being
able to revoke the license on this piece of software and that the license is
not a contract and therefore I don't have to let people use Lamson
indefinitely. Refer to this article for some other insights:
The developer seems confused. He cannot change the license of the software he released before retroactively. Once a software is released under GPL, that particular version is under GPL forever. However subsequent versions can be relicensed under any license the author chooses if he/she is the sole copyright holder. It appears that the current license is non-free and I would like Red Hat Legal to confirm this. Once we have confirmation that the current license is non-free, our options are
a) convince the developer to go back to the previous license. I am not sure why the developer has changed the license. That is unfortunate. If we cannot convince him, we can package a snapshot just before he changed the license but it will be unmaintained.
b) switch to the salmon-mail fork although we are losing some bug fixes and it is not clear whether that fork is going to be maintained going forward. If it is not, it is not any different from a)
c) drop the software entirely. askbot has a dependency on it but I think it only is needed when running it using celery which we don't and don't plan to.
Clause 4 is odd, but Clause 5 makes it clearly non-free.
I agree with what Rahul has said in Comment 6, and his options are the ones I would put forth, with a slight preference to option c (just because upstream seems to be a bit on the crazy side).
I have retired python-lamson and dropped the dependency on askbot for now. I will be open to packaging up salmon-mail (and deps) instead and adding an obsolete if that fork is going to be actively maintained. Thanks for the report and Spot for confirming that the current license is non-free.
I'm the only contributor to Salmon and as far as I can tell, the only user too. I certainly won't be pushing for inclusion in Fedora until I've know of a few people using it and submitting bug reports.
Other distributions including Debian, openSUSE etc would certainly be interested in a free fork. Large python software that has dependencies on lamson would be as well. I would use those as a starting point to get some more users.