[linux-elitists] RMS is at it again

Heather star@starshine.org
Fri Dec 1 14:15:42 PST 2000


> RMS is not alleging that distributing GPL-covered software without
> a copy of the GPL makes the software available for copying not in
> accordance with the GPL.

It's a problem even if he didn't mention it, but anyway.
 
> However, it's not legal for _Debian_ to distribute GPL software without
> the GPL itself.

Hrmmmm...
 
> A suggestion for handling this appears on the debian-policy list:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-policy-0011/msg00242.html

Yeah, I follow threads too.  I have to agree with itai:
	Oops:  How do you upgrade a weakinstall file owned by 200 packages?

And add:
	so GPL version 3 comes out, and numerous packages out there state
	"GPL version 2 or later at your option" - so, can't let it overwrite
	GPL version 2 document, correct?  And numerous others "GPL version 2"
	option not offered.  Trust them all to carefully keep this correctly
	expressed in the package system?   Hmm, they can't always make a 
	smooth upgrade of conffiles.  So is it "a bug" or "legally actionable"
	when something of the second flavor (2 no option) ends up pointed at 3?

	What about the days when someone less reasonable than RMS is at the
	podium telling them what violators they are?  (okay, worse, they could
	be more *reasonable* but actually not *care* that it might hurt the
	multitudes already using the product.)

Not only is everyone else dumb, the cynic in me says they are also self 
serving ... and definitions of "self" change over time. 

> It looks like this "issue" will only hog bandwidth and CD space, not
> disk space on installed Debian systems.

create a package named GPL-version-2 and another named GPL-version-2-or-later.
Just make it depend on that!  Dependency not happy, package no wanna install
by standard dpkg/apt.   Problem remains:  twit wants to fetch raw deb, use
alien to run off with it, sans GPL at all.  legaldroid notes GPL not inside
package iteslf, maybe no right to distribute said package?

Since I like to keep .deb's of packages whose states I don't trust to stay
happy - it's certainly going to bloat *my* install.  And as one who considers
taking a local debian mirror to an installfest, I want to know if the results
are going to bump the disk requirements up so far I can't mirror anymore.
 
> And of course it increases the benefit of rsyncing source packages to
> create your own binary packages locally, which would be almost as
> cool as apt-get over Freenet.

If you create your own binary packages locally, ok that's great for archival
backup (see dpkg-repack) but, to be able to continue to distrib (as a sysadmin
to many boxen, to your friends, at an installfest, etc) you have to keep their
whole thing, no?

As my just-pubbed article in the Gazette says: politics grow more boneheaded
every year.

* Heather * All free software projects are object oriented.  If you object,
            fix it yourself... -- Heather Stern



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