[linux-elitists] RMS is at it again

kmself@ix.netcom.com kmself@ix.netcom.com
Fri Dec 1 19:48:46 PST 2000


on Fri, Dec 01, 2000 at 03:11:41PM -0800, Heather (star@starshine.org) wrote:

> Read again - I suggest that they point to a debian-maintained copy AND 
> refer to the FSF.  One further assumes that the reference to the copy
> held at the FSF shouldn't be necessary if you *have* the local copy (as 
> you should) ... but you could refer to both and compare them.

OK.

> >       (c). and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this
> >         License along with the Program.
> > 
> > The _ issue is (c).
> 
> right, the present layout assumes that having Base is giving you a copy of 
> said License.

> > The issue isn't one of finding an appropriate license, it's accommodating
> > the requirements of the GNU GPL.
> 
> Or discovering that too deep a hole is being dug regarding it 8(

?

> > > Anyways the Debian gang are among the FSF's boosters for the most
> > > part, so what I really wonder, is who told off RMS such that he
> > > decided to have a public tantrum.  
> > 
> > My observation is that RMS tends to walk a rather straight line.
> > There's a potential GPL issue.  He's addressing it.
> 
> My observation is that he goes off like this on issues, after discovering 
> them in heated conversation with others.

Tantrum or otherwise, his reasoning and line are consistant.

> > Looking to alternatives, one might be to work out a way that:
> > 
> >   1. Doesn't put the overhead of transferring and storing copies of the
> >      GPL on people who are receiving programs through the Debian
> >      packaging system -- e.g.:  they've already got the license as part
> >      of the base system.  GPL *is a fundamental part* of Debian.
> > 
> >   2. Does transfer a copy, or indicate that the user must download an
> >      additional file, for those who are downloading debs independently.
> > 
> > 
> > The question IMO is whether or not "a work" is defined as:
> > 
> >   1. Debian as a whole.  In which case, we're compliant.
> > 
> >   2. An individual archive file.  In which case, we're not, and the
> >      solution is to add a copy of the L/GPL explicitly to each .deb
> >      governed by the L/GPL.
> > 
> >   3. A set of files, not necessarily integrally combined.  In which
> >      case, a social and procedural, but not technical, fix is possible.
> >      In the event of automated downloads, the tools will ensure that
> >      individuals have a copy of the L/GPL.  In the event of manual
> >      downloads, the recipient is directed to download a copy of the the
> >      L/GPL, but the Debian project can't be held accountable for this
> >      noncompliance.
>  
> I can hope for 3, because then my suggestion of a clear (but short)
> notice and a dependency on a package GPL-version-2 or
> GPL-version-2plus, etc.  would be fine.  And easy to do in the small
> scale, though a pain to do to every package til the pot's right...
>  
> > The problem isn't Debian CDs and live-system updates, it's individual
> > .deb distributions.  Agreement on that?
>  
> I suppose this is why I am being most snippy about it - I'm directly in the
> affected group.

Expand again:  You're in this group because:

  (a) You're downloading .debs over the net with apt-get

  (b) You're using individual .debs as part of other projects on
      non-Debian distributions or installations?

If the first, I'd make the argument that you're pulling down componenets
of a work within a framework that assures you've already got the
license(s) on the system, and will get them for you if you don't.

If the second, well, I hope my option (3) will stand.

> > IANAL, this is not legal advice.
> 
> As a curiosity: Anyone have a database somewhere of apps by license?

SourceForge does:

    http://sourceforge.net/softwaremap/trove_list.php?form_cat=13

...drill down and you'll find that this is a software map browser by
license category.

I also assume that the vrms package has some way of determining that a
package is in free or non-free.

However, my experience in crawling through /usr/doc/*/copyright a few
weeks back was that there is a strongly pronounced lack of consistancy
about how project copyrights are reported.  Anything from a
straightforward presentation to a detailed list of contact attempts with
original authors and/or transcripts of conversations or email.

It would be useful to tie this data to the popularity test though....

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>     http://www.netcom.com/~kmself
 Evangelist, Zelerate, Inc.                      http://www.zelerate.org
  What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?      There is no K5 cabal
   http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/        http://www.kuro5hin.org
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