[racket] Packages not containing a licence

From: Hendrik Boom (hendrik at topoi.pooq.com)
Date: Sat Aug 31 11:17:07 EDT 2013

On Sat, Aug 31, 2013 at 07:10:21AM +0100, Lawrence Woodman wrote:
> Hello,
> I have been trawling through the packages at:
>     http://pkg.racket-lang.org
> And have found that very few of the packages have any licensing information
> and are effectively proprietary software, despite what their authors
> may have
> intended.  I can therefore study them, but not use them without breaking
> copyright law.

Strictly speaking, you don't *know* you whether you are breaking 
copyright law if ou use them.  It might still be perfectly lawful.  
Nothing actually requires a licensor, in general, to include the 
license with every copy (of course, there are well=knoown licences that 
do require this...).

>  For a hobbyist this is easy enough to overlook, but
> for anyone
> wanting to use Racket commercially this means that most of the packages are
> unusable without contacting the authors and seeing what terms they are
> prepared to license their code under.

Mainly because commercial users are more worried about getting sued.

> This is a big enough pain for packages outside the main
> distribution, but I have
> also noticed that packages in the main distribution do not contain licence
> information either.  A typical example is:
> https://pkg.racket-lang.org/info/html-lib
> In html/html.rkt, it contains:
>     copyright by Paul Graunke June 2000 AD
> But has no licensing info anywhere in the package.  This was presumably LGPL
> code that was extracted to a package from the main racket
> repository.  Without
> that licensing information it contravenes the terms of the LGPL and more
> importantly, to me, means I can't use it as it hasn't been licensed
> for use by anyone
> through that package.

Licencing information clearly ought to be part of every package.

I'll go further and say that licencing information ought to be passed 
ono by compilers into object code, that linkers ought to preserve it 
and out it in a copyright header of some sort in executables and 
libraries, and so forth.

-- hendrik

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