When Non-Free is “Free Enough”

[This is a repost of an article I wrote in 2001 on the University of Washington PINE license.  Restored here for posterity.]

When Non-Free is “Free Enough”
by Chris Allegretta

The University of Washington’s Pine mailer. A popular piece of software, indeed, as is its editor component, Pico. So much so that most people turn a blind eye to its license: a license, I feel, that is as bad as anything that has ever come out of Redmond.

Virtually every major GNU/Linux distribution ships binaries of Pine and Pico with the notable exception of Debian. After all these programs are veritable mainstays of the Unix world. Ironically, according to the legal terms of the program, Debian may be the …

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