GNU bug report logs - #31728
Automake and AM_WITH_DMALLOC; endorsing proprietary software?

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Package: automake; Reported by: Nick Bowler <nbowler@HIDDEN>; dated Tue, 5 Jun 2018 19:10:01 UTC; Maintainer for automake is bug-automake@HIDDEN.

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From: Nick Bowler <nbowler@HIDDEN>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2018 15:09:29 -0400
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Subject: Automake and AM_WITH_DMALLOC; endorsing proprietary software?
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Hi,

I have some doubts about the automake-provided macro AM_WITH_DMALLOC.
This appears to be a development tool which could be useful to help
programmers debug their packages.  It has a very brief description
in the Automake manual in section 6.4.1 "Public Macros"[1], including
a link to the dmalloc website.

The trouble is that dmalloc appears to be non-free: the license does
not seem to permit distribution for a fee (see below).  This macro in
Automake doesn't seem to exist for any real portability purpose, but
rather it only adds options that help extend program functionality
with this library.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I wonder if this macro has a place in a
GNU package like Automake.  The manual entry may encourage developers
to use this macro/library.  For an example of this, GNU make 4.2.1
did make use of the AM_WITH_DMALLOC macro, so in turn that package's
configure --help output suggests this tool for debugging.

The license text found in the latest dmalloc 5.5.2 release is this:

  Copyright 2000 by Gray Watson

  Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for
  any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that the
  above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all
  copies, and that the name of Gray Watson not be used in advertising
  or publicity pertaining to distribution of the document or software
  without specific, written prior permission.

  Gray Watson makes no representations about the suitability of the
  software described herein for any purpose.  It is provided "as is"
  without express or implied warranty.

The permission grant is almost identical to the ISC license except that
"and/or" is changed to "and" and, more importantly, the words "with or
without fee" are changed to "and without fee".

[1] https://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/automake.html#index-AM_005fWITH_005fDMALLOC

Thoughts?

Cheers,
  Nick




Acknowledgement sent to Nick Bowler <nbowler@HIDDEN>:
New bug report received and forwarded. Copy sent to bug-automake@HIDDEN. Full text available.
Report forwarded to bug-automake@HIDDEN:
bug#31728; Package automake. Full text available.
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