Re: A reminder about the facts

From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 22:21:28 -0400

    That is a funny way of looking at it. We clearly ``have'' ncurses.

If you don't mind using a non-free program, then you have ncurses.

The GNU project can only use free software, and therefore ncurses is
off limits for us, as long as its distribution terms are not changed.
We have to look for an alternative.

> * ESR and Zeyd together can agree to permit distribution of modified
> versions and thus make ncurses free software.

    I don't think they have ever had a problem with that;

The question I am talking about is not a matter of what someone feels
or thinks; it is a matter what the distribution terms say.

If the copyright holders of ncurses rerelease it with new distribution
terms that give permission to release modified versions, then it will
be free software. Otherwise it will not be.

It is possible for free software distribution terms to require that
modified versions be labeled as modified (and by whom). As you've
noticed, the GPL has such a requirement. If ncurses too had such
a requirement, it could still be free software.

But that is not the present state of affairs. Right now, the ncurses
distribution terms don't permit modified releases at all.
Received on Mon Jun 02 1997 - 22:31:29 EDT

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