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ghostscript to no longer be free
heads up for future ghostscript porting/packaging ... make sure the right
version is used.
GNU and Ghostscript part ways
[edited for brevity and the removal of some political posturing]
The recently announced GNU Ghostscript 7.07 release will be the last. GNU
Ghostscript - a free PostScript and PDF interpreter which lurks at the
core of free print systems worldwide - is the result of several years
worth of cooperation between its developers and the Free Software
Foundation. Disagreements over the best way to create free software have
brought an end to that cooperation - and to GNU Ghostscript. Fortunately,
users of GPL-licensed Ghostscript should see little, if any, change.
New Ghostscript developments are released under the Aladdin Free Public
License (AFPL), which is not a free license. It gives users the right to
use, modify, and distribute copies of AFPL Ghostscript - with an important
Distribution of the Program or any work based on the Program by a
commercial organization to any third party is prohibited if any payment
is made in connection with such distribution, whether directly (as in
payment for a copy of the Program) or indirectly (as in payment for some
service related to the Program, or payment for some product or service
that includes a copy of the Program "without charge"; these are only
examples, and not an exhaustive enumeration of prohibited activities).
In other words, the Ghostscript copyright holder (artofcode LLC) reserves
the right to make money from the distribution of Ghostscript. If you want
to distribute AFPL Ghostscript as part of a commercial product (i.e.
inside a printer), you must come to an agreement with Artifex Software,
which handles these deals.
The difference in viewpoints between the FSF and the Ghostscript team have
resulted in two issues which have, at this point, brought about the end of
the GNU Ghostscript releases. The first is the FSF's insistence that
nothing in GNU Ghostscript can even mention that AFPL Ghostscript exists.
This is not a new situation - see this note from Richard Stallman in
response to the GNU Ghostscript 5.10 release announcement back in 1998.
That announcement mentioned AFPL Ghostscript 5.50, which was set to become
GNU Ghostscript 5.50 several months later; this mention violated the FSF's
rules on information control and had to be corrected. More recently, Mr.
Stallman told the Ghostscript developers that there were "major and
pervasive problems" with the GNU Ghostscript release.
Ghostscript users may not notice the difference, however. Given that each
side continues to express great respect for the other and the two remain
on friendly terms, there is a real possibility that things could yet be
worked out in the future. In the mean time, as Mr. Levien told us:
"...while we are discontinuing the GNU affiliation, our commitment to GPL
releases of Ghostscript is as strong as ever." GNU Ghostscript will, in
the future, bear a name like "GPL Ghostscript," and it will not be
considered as part of the body of GNU code. But the GPL-licensed
Ghostscript releases - a valuable gift of high-quality code - will
jose nazario, ph.d. firstname.lastname@example.org