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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] has dosemu freedom issues?

From: Henry Jensen
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] has dosemu freedom issues?
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 11:54:24 +0100

Hello Sam,

I am CC'ing this to the Parabola GNU/Linux list, since they have dosemu in their
community repo.

On Sat, 18 Dec 2010 21:29:48 +0100
Sam Geeraerts <address@hidden> wrote:

> So dosemu is libre and FreeDOS is libre, but FreeDOS can only be built 
> with non-free tools? 


> That last step is not good, but it's beyond what we 
> should worry about, IMO. 

After some thinking I am not sure about that. Dosemu is in Debian
contrib (it isn't included in Trisquel or gnewsense), a repo for free
software which depends on non-free software to use or build.

The source package of Debians dosemu contains a binary and a source
tarball of FreeDOS, the accompanied README states:

"The dosemu team itself has not compiled everything from those
sources, but most are copied and stripped down (deleting files and
symlinking duplicates) to tailor a minimal system. This work has been
done manually (no script) and the resulting tree is simply tar'ed to
build dosemu-freedos-bin.tgz."

In more concrete words: To build FreeDOS binaries you have to use
non-free software. By delivering the FreeDOS sources (required by the
GPL) we would suggest, that the user installs non-free software, which
is not desirable.

> > OpenWatcom is released under the "Open Watcom Public License". The FSF 
> > license list don't 
> > mention it.
> > 
> > Has anyone more insight regarding this matter?
> There's a debian-legal thread about it [1].
> At first glance I'd say at least section 2.2(c) is a problem: if you 
> modify the software and install it at your workplace, then you have to 
> make your modifications available to everyone, not just those you gave 
> the binaries to.
> [1]

Yes, you're right, additionally there seem to be other matters, e. g.
12.1(c) strikes me as even more obvious non-free, as it says that the
license terminates if you "commence an action for patent infringement
against Sybase or any Contributor."

So, I think that, because of this matter, Dosemu should be listed on

(theoratical) fixes would be
a) to port FreeDOS to djgpp
b) to replace FreeDOS with another free DOS that can be built with free
software (someone mentioned a nasm port of RxDOS, but I haven't found a



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