questions about the copyright status of ncurses

From: T.E.Dickey <>
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 19:26:06 -0400 (EDT)

> Whoa... This is all very surprising to me, as well as concerning and
> confusing. I looked through the ncurses 4.1 distribution for copyright
> information, and now I'm even more confused. Can someone please shed some
> light on the following?
> 1) Under what license was the predecessor to ncurses released? (pcurses)
> 2) Doesn't the copyright notice by Zeyd Ben-Halim and Eric Raymond grant
> permission to do pretty much anything with the ncurses distribution?

> 3) As long as Thomas Dickey didn't remove the copyright notice from any of
> the header files (which means there could conceivably end up being
> header file with nothing but a copyright notice in them), hasn't he
> abided by the ncurses license as stated by Ben-Halim and Raymond?
right (there's a couple of c files that I've completely rewritten, such
as lib_twait.c, but keep the copyright since the interface hasn't changed,
or did so so gradually that I didn't split out the new code - but it's
in the change history)

> 4) Why wasn't ncurses re-released under the GPL/LGPL long ago in order to
> make the copyright situation clearer?
I gather that Zeyd (or Eric) disapprove of GPL. I disapprove of going to
extremes on this, so BSD-style (which is still stricter than ncurses's)
is what I'm using at the moment.

> 5) Why is ncurses on the GNU distribution sites when it doesn't have a
> GPL? I was completely shocked to not find the GPL in the ncurses
> distribution.
I don't know the story about 1.9.9g; I asked to have 4.1 there because
of a tie-in to glibc (as well as to point people at a newer version than
1.9.9g), and to better support the Lynx development.

> 6) Why are people so concerned over who owns free software?
beats me. I can understand people wanting proper credit for their work.
but Eric wants more than that.

Thomas E. Dickey
Received on Sat May 31 1997 - 09:46:17 EDT

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