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Replacing gkermit with ekermit
I would like to remove gkermit (GPLv2) and add a BSD-licenced
kermit implementation such as E-Kermit (very small, see
<http://www.kermitproject.org/ek.html>) or C-Kermit (much larger,
see <http://www.kermitproject.org/ck90.html>). Read on for
In 2006, we imported the "gkermit" program, which is a lightweight
implementation of the Kermit file transfer protocol, with a
GPLv2 licence. This was intended to be useful for transferring
files over a console port to aid in system recovery. It was
even added to /rescue because of its usefulness in system
recovery, but was then removed due to licencing concrns. See
for an example of a use case for a small Kermit
implementation in the base system and in /rescue,
and search for "gkermit" in the index page at
to find other other messages in the discussion from 2006.
At that time (2006), most Kermit implementations had a licence
that prohibited copying for commercial use, but C-Kermit had a
licence exemption that allowed inclusion in a "Free UNIX" or
other Open Source operating-system distribution, and gkermit had
a GPL licence. The C-Kermit licence would not not have allowed
inclusion in products shipped by vendors who use NetBSD, so (back
in 1999 when Columbia University added the licence exemption)
NetBSD chose not to include C-Kermit.
In 2011, Columbia University re-licenced most Kermit
implementations under a revised 3-clause BSD licence,
terminated their Kermit project, and transferred
Kermit development to an open source project. See
Today, gkermit remains under a GPLv2 licence, while the very small
E-Kermit and the much larger C-Kermit have BSD licences.
E-Kermit (see <http://www.kermitproject.org/ek.html>) is
intended as a small library for embedding in other programs or
products, but it has a simple commandline wrapper. C-Kermit (see
<http://www.kermitproject.org/ck90.html>) has many more features
and an interactive user interface.
I would like to replace the small GPL-licenced gkermit in the
NetBSD base system with the small BSD-licenced E-Kermit. E-Kermit
can also be added to /rescue without any licencing concerns.
Users who want all the extra features in C-Kermit may install
it from pkgsrc, while users who need only a minimalistic file
transfer facility may use ekermit in the base system.
I have already done most of the work that would be required to
import E-Kermit; it was just a reachiver Makefile and a few small
patches to silence compiler warnings.
I could possibly be persuaded to import C-Kermit instead of
E-Kermit, but I have not even looked at how difficult that might
--apb (Alan Barrett)
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