IBM Public License and Debian Linux..... Not compatible?

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Thu May 3 09:32:09 UTC 2001

on Wed, May 02, 2001 at 11:03:39PM -0400, Carter Bullard (carter at wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Ian Lance Taylor [mailto:ian at]

> > "Carter Bullard" <carter at> writes:
> >
> > >    I have released some software under a modified IBM Public
> > > License.  The powers that be at Debian Linux are stating that the
> > > license, and thus the IBM Public License, does not meet their
> > > definition of "free".  I've included the Debian definition of
> > > "free" below.  My modifications to the IBM Public License are so
> > > slight that you can assume that my license is equivalent to the
> > > IBM License.
> >
> > What are their arguments?  Is there a mail thread on the web
> > somewhere or something?
> >
> > Ian

> Hey Ian,
>    Here is the thread.
> Carter
> ----- Forwarded message from Debian Installer
> <installer at> -----
> From: Debian Installer <installer at>
> To: Bernd Eckenfels <ecki at>, Yotam Rubin <yotam at>
> Cc: Debian Installer <installer at>
> Subject: argus_2.0.0-1.1_i386.changes REJECTED
> Hi,
> Sorry for the delay in processing this package, I've been pondering
> the license for some time now.  In any event, I'm afraid I don't
> believe the license satisfies the DFSG.  I posted to debian-legal[1]
> with this view but there wasn't any replies, either positive or
> negative.
> Rather than let it sit in Incoming any longer I've decided to reject
> it.  You can either upload the package for non-free or try to stir up
> a response on non-free and convince people (me, or some other
> ftpmaster, for instance) that this license conforms to the DFSG.
> --
> James
> [1]

A general note to the list:  postfix response -- appending your reply at
the end of a message -- is generally far preferred for mailing list
activities.  As is trimming unnecessary quotage.

I believe James is mistaken.  The IBM PSL is used by the Jikes Java
compiler, which is packaged under Debian as free, as far as I can tell.  

The proper place to discuss this is debian-devel or debian-legal.

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
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