Recently, I wanted to package hxd/hx/ghx for Debian. So, as
I was writing the package information, I came across the
copyright file. I pondered for a minute thinking what the
copyright line should be and what license hxd has. To my
surprise there was none.
On further investigation, I found a bunch of stuff in violation of the GNU General Public License. For example hx 0.7.x had a COPYING file but it was questionable. It mentioned GPL version 69 [ or earlier ]. Obviously, Ryan Nielsen's idea of a joke. hxd 0.1.33 does not contain any COPYING file at all. It does however, contain GPL'd code from GNU Readline and strptime.
Even if hxd did not violate the GPL, it still could not be put into Debian as it has no license. Certain rights, required by the DFSG (Debian Free Software Guidlines), are not implied unless specifically stated. For example, the right to distribute modified source is not implied.
aaronl and I confronted Ryan Nielsen, the author of hxd, and asked him what was up with this. He basically said that licenses suck and expressed his unwillingness to correct this potentially serious problem. He also inquired aaronl whether he had sex with an elephant woman during this conversation.