[Debburn-devel] Re: License of cdrkit - GPLv2 + additional restrictions

Francesco Poli frx at firenze.linux.it
Thu Sep 14 22:30:06 UTC 2006

On Thu, 14 Sep 2006 15:37:11 +0300 Markus Laire wrote:

> I'm concerned about the licensing of cdrkit[1,2] aka debburn, which
> was recently forked from cdrecord.

I am concerned as well, and I would have started a similar thread just
today, if you hadn't done so before me!

I actually mentioned this same issue near the end of the log for bug

> The current license seems to be GPLv2 + additional restrictions which
> IMHO is not right because GPLv2 doesn't allow any such additional
> restrictions.

I agree.
GPL + extra-restrictions is self-contradictory.
It could even end up being considered as an invalid license: since we
don't have another license, the package would be undistributable!

See the thread starting at
for a discussion on a another case of GPL + extra-restrictions.
The reply from RMS is especially worth noting:

> An example from libscg/scsi-linux-ata.c[3]:
> An another example from cdrecord/cdrecord.c[4]:
> I mentioned this problem over a week ago[5] at debburn-devel but
> didn't get any response.
> Recently Nathanael Nerode mentioned this problem again[6] and Albert
> Cahalan answered[7]:
> In my opinion there is clearly a concrete problem as there are
> restrictions in the source-code which are not allowed by GPLv2.


> So I'd now like to ask what debian-legal thinks about this situation,
> and whether the license of cdrkit is OK for Debian-main.

IMHO, the license as stated in cdrkit debian/copyright does not make the
package suitable for inclusion in main (maybe not even for distribution
via the non-free archive, *if* the license is to be considered

I think that a thorough analysis of the restrictions should be done, in
order to clarify the issues to be addressed.

The usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD.

But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4
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