Removal of (some) PHP related software from Debian

The Debian FTP masters have for quite a while a line in their reject FAQ about the PHP license. Despite that, quite a lot of PHP extensions were uploaded to the archive and accepted. Some are being managed/developed in’s PECL website, and are done under the umbrella of the PHP Group, which is the group the PHP license is refers to. Over time, we started to see many more extension being developed outside of the PHP group (both technically with sites like github and copyright wise).  This is true to certain degree with the’s PEAR  website which has software written in PHP.

The issue has been raised again in October 2013 with php-gearman using the PHP license while having different copyright holders (bug #728196). After discussions (ftp masters, release team & Ondřej), it was agreed that the current interpretation is still relevant, and almost all extensions and applications should be either removed or re-licensed by its upstream. This makes the todo list 41 packages long (full list based on Ondřej Surý’s bug reports). Any help with contacting upstream projects, explaining the situation and requesting a license change would be welcomed. We also need to monitor new release based on fulfilling these requests.

Until such a change happen, with automatic removal of packages from testing, we’re going to see packages disappear after mid July. This has a little wider affect due to package dependencies, but for the moment only on testing (Jessie).


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, PHP

5 responses to “Removal of (some) PHP related software from Debian

  1. This is exactly why sometimes working with Debian is a pain.

    Debian’s interpretation is wrong, and for the record, Ondřej Surý does not agree with FTP masters on this issue but as usual, tries to be as constructive and productive as possible.

    Now, about the issue, some Debian members constantly bashes either PHP or its license about its non Free nature. While we can agree to disagree on that, the PHP License is by no mean not valid for anything released under the * umbrella. And this is what I said to the list as well.

    If Debian simply removes this package or begin to force developers to adopt a license not necessary adapted to their needs, I, as a personal level, will simply strongly suggest to use dotdeb or alternative distributions.

    But such issues and threatening developers with removals and co is simply the worst behavior ever.

    • As a member of the project, I as well don’t always agree with the decisions, but I believe that for the long run this is a good move which will clarify some things about the license. I’ll try to contact the license list for this.

      Indeed, for the short run, it will probably make some noise and will put a few users in a problematic situation. I don’t see the packages removed from unstable soon, and they could be installed manually into testing if needed.

      • what needs to be clarified? We had an agreement with the update we have done with 3.01. And all of a sudden, one guy thinks it is not valid anymore for anything but php-src and 40+ extensions will be dropped?

        I totally fail to understand how such decision process and moves are good in the long run for the Debian project. To me it is a very good reason to move away as it is not reliable. And that’d to be a hard move for me.

  2. And the irony that Debian uses (used?) Suhosin is funny…

    Yet another proof that this issue is purely artificial and used as yet another way to kick PHP for its non free nature, as stated some on the list as well. They will not like the license until it is GPL-like, which will never ever happen.

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