Licensing issues

Several existing programs that might be useful for specialists are not free in the sense of the Debian Free Software Guidelines [20]. Programs that are incompatible with the DFSG cannot be included in the Debian main distribution. One famous example of this group is PhyLip and the same hold for ClustalW. Both programs' licenses contain a clause like

Permission is granted to copy and use this program provided no fee is charged for it and provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
As a consequence no reseller of Debian would be allowed to sell Debian because one CD contains PhyLip. Hence, this program may not be redistributed per default with the main and essential tools of Debian. Problems are, starting with those for the user:

From the developers point of view we face also drawbacks:

While every author is perfectly free to choose this kind of license, Free Software experts agree that this kind of restrictions is possibly a drawback for those programs because they do not fully use the spinning power of Free Software development.

Andreas Tille 2005-05-13