Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta - Debian

This is a discussion on Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta - Debian ; The debian-legal checklist: On Sun, Jun 03, 2007 at 11:28:22AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote: Posted by a non-DD, non-maintainer and non-applicant: Check. > Anthony Towns writes: > > [...] And as far as the actual effects go, > > I'm ...

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Thread: Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

  1. Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

    The debian-legal checklist:

    On Sun, Jun 03, 2007 at 11:28:22AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:

    Posted by a non-DD, non-maintainer and non-applicant: Check.

    > Anthony Towns writes:
    > > [...] And as far as the actual effects go,
    > > I'm not sure you're going to be any better off without that clause in
    > > your license: if you set foot in Australia, with an Australian judgement
    > > against you, there's a good chance of it being enforced; and if you don't,
    > > there seems to be a practical possibility of your extradition anyway,
    > > based on [0].

    > Extradition is for criminal cases, not civil cases. I cannot imagine
    > how a choice of venue clause would significantly either help or hurt a
    > criminal defendant.


    Confident assertion of legal facts, with little basis, no references,
    and without an "IANAL" disclaimer, or "I am a lawyer and this is legal
    advice", or a "I am a lawyer but this does not constitute legal advice":
    Check

    Since copyright is increasingly covered by criminal penalties (in at
    least Australia and the US) as well as civil ones, I don't think that
    dismissal is even particularly useful.

    > As has been previously discussed on -legal -- several times, I might
    > add -- there are a variety of reasons that the rest your argument is
    > flawed.


    Condescending dismissal of arguments: Check.

    > To summarize: Most of the expense of non-local defense
    > litigation is in advance of any court judgment on the merits. The
    > cost to dismiss a lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction is an
    > order of magnitude (or more) less than litigating it through trial.
    > It is harder to set aside a default judgment than to dismiss a
    > complaint for improper venue.


    Confident assertion of legal facts, [...]: Check.

    In the example Don presented, of the Debian star maintainer removing
    some output from the Debian star package, that the star upstream claims
    constitutes a "copyright notice", then there are the following options:

    1. avoid the conflict by removing star from Debian
    2. avoid the conflict by replacing the output at upstream's request
    3. dispute the claim that they're copyright notices and keep acting

    At this point upstream likewise has some choices -- ignore the (perceived)
    license violation, sue in the court that's most convenient for them, or
    sue in the court that's most likely to act against you. If they ignore
    the violation, then that's where it ends. If they sue in the court that's
    convenient for them, then:

    4. they need to demonstrate jurisdiction (which should be
    relatively easy even without a choice of venue clause,
    because Debian operates globally anyway: in the Berlin case
    ffis would be a potential target, I'd imagine)
    5. they'd need to subpoena the respondent (ffis, pavel, SPI, whoever)
    following usual procedures
    6. they'd need to convince the judge that the case is worth hearing
    and that they're correct

    At step (3) we've already decided upon a response to the claims, which we
    could file either with representation or by post at point (6).

    If those comments are dismissed by the judge and we're ruled against, we
    have another choice:

    7. we can accept the ruling that we're violating the author's
    copyright, and remove the program or comply with upstream's
    request
    8. we can continue doing things the way we think's appropriate, but
    not in places where we've been ruled against

    And if upstream doesn't like that, which they presumably wouldn't,

    9. upstream can start asking other jurisdictions to enforce the
    penalties already indicated

    And as it happens, all of that applies without a choice of venue clause
    too, the only option you lose is the chance of dismissing the case on
    jurisdictional technicalities at point (6).

    > Even if the license provides for recovery of costs and attorneys' fees


    It does provide for recovery of costs and attorneys' fees. No need to
    be hypothetical.

    > Those are the costs of a choice-of-venue clause. The (apparently one
    > and only) benefit is that it is cheaper for the licensor to sue people
    > and/or the results of lawsuits are more predictable.


    The benefit is that it's clearer as to how the license will be enforced.
    Is it a big benefit? No, probably not. Supposedly Sun have it on their
    TODO list to remove it, though presumably it's safe to say they've been
    more focussed on getting Java under GPLv2 and seeing what happens with
    GPLv3 over the past little while.

    > Is that truly acceptable in a free software license?


    Is it acceptable that a free software license makes it cheaper for
    the licensor to sue people, or that the results of lawsuits are more
    predictable? Of course it is.

    Is it acceptable that a free software license has drawbacks associated
    with it for potential licensees? Well that's a no-brainer too: all
    licenses (with the possible exception of public domain equivalents) have
    drawbacks of some kind.

    Cheers,
    aj


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  2. Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

    Anthony Towns wrote:

    > The debian-legal checklist:

    [...]
    > In the example Don presented, of the Debian star maintainer removing
    > some output from the Debian star package, that the star upstream claims
    > constitutes a "copyright notice", then there are the following options:


    [ rather long essay snipped ]

    Confident assertion of legal facts, with little basis, no references,
    and without an "IANAL" disclaimer, or "I am a lawyer and this is legal
    advice", or a "I am a lawyer but this does not constitute legal advice":

    "little basis" seems overly subjective to me, but besides that:
    Check

    Regards, Frank
    --
    Frank Küster
    Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
    Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

  3. Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

    The troll checklist:

    Anthony Towns writes:

    > The debian-legal checklist:
    >
    > On Sun, Jun 03, 2007 at 11:28:22AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
    >
    > Posted by a non-DD, non-maintainer and non-applicant: Check.


    Ad hominem attack: Check. (For what it's worth, I am an upstream
    maintainer of one package in Debian (ircd-ircu) and another GPL'ed
    software package that is not. I am not inclined to adopt the
    obviously orphaned ircd-ircu package just to satisfy people who look
    at credentials over facts.)

    >> Anthony Towns writes:
    >> > [...] And as far as the actual effects go,
    >> > I'm not sure you're going to be any better off without that clause in
    >> > your license: if you set foot in Australia, with an Australian judgement
    >> > against you, there's a good chance of it being enforced; and if you don't,
    >> > there seems to be a practical possibility of your extradition anyway,
    >> > based on [0].

    >> Extradition is for criminal cases, not civil cases. I cannot imagine
    >> how a choice of venue clause would significantly either help or hurt a
    >> criminal defendant.

    >
    > Confident assertion of legal facts, with little basis, no references,
    > and without an "IANAL" disclaimer, or "I am a lawyer and this is legal
    > advice", or a "I am a lawyer but this does not constitute legal advice":
    > Check


    Blatant and proud ignorance of the field: Check, check and check. (I
    am not a lawyer. Under US law, I am not required to declare that when
    I make legal commentary. As a rule, I do not offer legal advice to
    anyone, since I do not wish to practice law.)

    > Since copyright is increasingly covered by criminal penalties (in at
    > least Australia and the US) as well as civil ones, I don't think that
    > dismissal is even particularly useful.


    Totally missing the point: Check. (Choice of venue is for civil
    cases. Extradition is for criminal cases. Your attempt to link the
    two is irrelevant to whether choice of venue is free.)

    >> As has been previously discussed on -legal -- several times, I might
    >> add -- there are a variety of reasons that the rest your argument is
    >> flawed.

    >
    > Condescending dismissal of arguments: Check.


    I was -- and am -- in no mood to repeat the full reasons for these
    positions for the fourth or fifth time. If you cannot bother to read
    the archives, that is your loss.

    >> To summarize: Most of the expense of non-local defense
    >> litigation is in advance of any court judgment on the merits. The
    >> cost to dismiss a lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction is an
    >> order of magnitude (or more) less than litigating it through trial.
    >> It is harder to set aside a default judgment than to dismiss a
    >> complaint for improper venue.

    >
    > Confident assertion of legal facts, [...]: Check.


    I said it was a summary and that it had been discussed on -legal
    before. Citations are available in the archives.

    In the paragraph above, except for the last sentence (which has been
    supported by others in this thread), the data are also from my
    personal experience of being sued in a California federal court while
    I was a resident of Virginia. That experience is a major reason that
    I am so adamantly against this kind of clause in licenses for free
    software.

    > In the example Don presented, of the Debian star maintainer removing
    > some output from the Debian star package, that the star upstream claims
    > constitutes a "copyright notice", then there are the following options:
    >
    > 1. avoid the conflict by removing star from Debian
    > 2. avoid the conflict by replacing the output at upstream's request
    > 3. dispute the claim that they're copyright notices and keep acting
    >
    > At this point upstream likewise has some choices -- ignore the (perceived)
    > license violation, sue in the court that's most convenient for them, or
    > sue in the court that's most likely to act against you. If they ignore
    > the violation, then that's where it ends. If they sue in the court that's
    > convenient for them, then:
    >
    > 4. they need to demonstrate jurisdiction (which should be
    > relatively easy even without a choice of venue clause,
    > because Debian operates globally anyway: in the Berlin case
    > ffis would be a potential target, I'd imagine)
    > 5. they'd need to subpoena the respondent (ffis, pavel, SPI, whoever)
    > following usual procedures
    > 6. they'd need to convince the judge that the case is worth hearing
    > and that they're correct


    Debian's global activities do not in general affect jurisidiction over
    individuals, so (4) primarily applies to Debian rather than its
    developers or end users.

    Nitpick: The plaintiff would need to issue a summons to the defendant.
    A subpoena is for testimony or other fact discovery[1]. A defendant
    does not become a respondent until he responds to a particular
    filing[1]; the plaintiff would usually also be a respondent to certain
    motions[1].

    [1]- Ask Wikipedia, Google, or whatever floats your boat. These are
    not obscure legal facts or specific instances, they are basic terms.
    Would you take someone seriously who had strong programming opinions
    but thought "CC" was the name of a C compiler or claimed to know the
    Pearl _scripting_ language?

    [snip]
    >> Even if the license provides for recovery of costs and attorneys' fees

    >
    > It does provide for recovery of costs and attorneys' fees. No need to
    > be hypothetical.


    I am aware that CDDL provides for that, but that is separate from
    choice of venue.

    >> Those are the costs of a choice-of-venue clause. The (apparently one
    >> and only) benefit is that it is cheaper for the licensor to sue people
    >> and/or the results of lawsuits are more predictable.

    >
    > The benefit is that it's clearer as to how the license will be enforced.
    > Is it a big benefit? No, probably not. Supposedly Sun have it on their
    > TODO list to remove it, though presumably it's safe to say they've been
    > more focussed on getting Java under GPLv2 and seeing what happens with
    > GPLv3 over the past little while.


    How many free software licenses have been enforced thanks to choice of
    venue? gpl-violations.org seems to be doing quite well without one,
    and I imagine that a choice of venue for Linux kernel litigation (to
    any non-German venue) would have impaired that.

    The first line of license enforcement for free software has been and
    probably always be social pressure. As has been frequently argued,
    high-profile prospective defendants are likely to have legal presence
    in most of the places that plaintiffs would like to sue anyway. This
    makes a choice of venue most applicable to low-profile defendants.

    >> Is that truly acceptable in a free software license?

    >
    > Is it acceptable that a free software license makes it cheaper for
    > the licensor to sue people, or that the results of lawsuits are more
    > predictable? Of course it is.
    >
    > Is it acceptable that a free software license has drawbacks associated
    > with it for potential licensees? Well that's a no-brainer too: all
    > licenses (with the possible exception of public domain equivalents) have
    > drawbacks of some kind.


    Not all "drawbacks" are "shifted costs". The effect of choice of
    venue is to shift a significant potential cost from the software
    licensor to the software's users. That is the reason that many of us
    look at it as a fee or cost, and why we think it is a violation of
    free software principles.

    Michael Poole


    --
    To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-legal-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
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  4. Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

    On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 08:27:13AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
    > The troll checklist:


    Heh. Free advice: the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them.

    > Anthony Towns writes:
    > > The debian-legal checklist:
    > > On Sun, Jun 03, 2007 at 11:28:22AM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
    > > Posted by a non-DD, non-maintainer and non-applicant: Check.

    > Ad hominem attack: Check.


    I'm sorry, but I don't get why anyone considers that an ad hominem attack.

    > > Confident assertion of legal facts, with little basis, no references,
    > > and without an "IANAL" disclaimer, or "I am a lawyer and this is legal
    > > advice", or a "I am a lawyer but this does not constitute legal advice":
    > > Check

    > Blatant and proud ignorance of the field: Check, check and check. (I
    > am not a lawyer. Under US law, [...])


    Uh, dude, "IANAL" is a way of indicating that you may not actually have
    a clue what you're talking about because it's all just amateur opinions.
    Once upon a time -legal used to be littered with it; now days the concept
    that regular posters to -legal might be mistaken seems to be rather alien.

    > >> As has been previously discussed on -legal -- several times, I might
    > >> add -- there are a variety of reasons that the rest your argument is
    > >> flawed.

    > > Condescending dismissal of arguments: Check.

    > I was -- and am -- in no mood to repeat the full reasons for these
    > positions for the fourth or fifth time. If you cannot bother to read
    > the archives, that is your loss.


    See, given that as an ftpmaster I'm one of the folks who actually
    implements the policy on what's accepted into main or not, it's not my
    loss at all.

    > > 4. they need to demonstrate jurisdiction (which should be
    > > relatively easy even without a choice of venue clause,
    > > because Debian operates globally anyway: in the Berlin case
    > > ffis would be a potential target, I'd imagine)


    > Debian's global activities do not in general affect jurisidiction over
    > individuals, so (4) primarily applies to Debian rather than its
    > developers or end users.


    The CDDL primarily applies to Debian rather than end-users anyway, being
    about distribution and development (at least in so far as we distribute
    CDDL software anyway)...

    In any event, the example Don raised specifically talked about Debian
    being the respondent.

    > Nitpick: The plaintiff would need to issue a summons to the defendant.
    > A subpoena is for testimony or other fact discovery[1]. A defendant
    > does not become a respondent until he responds to a particular
    > filing[1]; the plaintiff would usually also be a respondent to certain
    > motions[1].
    >
    > [1]- Ask Wikipedia, Google, or whatever floats your boat. These are
    > not obscure legal facts or specific instances, they are basic terms.
    > Would you take someone seriously who had strong programming opinions
    > but thought "CC" was the name of a C compiler or claimed to know the
    > Pearl _scripting_ language?


    It's interesting that you started the mail offended about the "ad hominem
    attack" of noting you're not a developer; yet somehow you think a computer
    expert who tries to avoid paying attention to legal arguments getting
    "subpoena" and "summons" confused is an ignoramus who shouldn't be
    taken seriously.

    And that is exactly an ad hominem fallacy -- attacking the person in
    order to discredit their arguments, even though the flaws the person
    may have don't actually affect their argument.

    The argument which, I'll note that you didn't actually address at all.

    > How many free software licenses have been enforced thanks to choice of
    > venue?


    It doesn't matter, simplicity isn't a requirement for freeness.

    > Not all "drawbacks" are "shifted costs". The effect of choice of
    > venue is to shift a significant potential cost from the software
    > licensor to the software's users.


    Disclaimers of warranty and liability do that too.

    Cheers,
    aj


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  5. Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

    Anthony Towns writes:

    > Uh, dude, "IANAL" is a way of indicating that you may not actually have
    > a clue what you're talking about because it's all just amateur opinions.
    > Once upon a time -legal used to be littered with it; now days the concept
    > that regular posters to -legal might be mistaken seems to be rather alien.


    In dealing with areas that I have researched thoroughly and lived
    through, I am not afraid to say that facts are facts. When I am not
    sure, I throw in appropriate qualifiers (such as "I cannot imagine
    xxx", "At least in the US, ..." or even "IANAL"). When I do not think
    I have enough good information to make a useful contribution, I make
    no comment. When appropriate, I cite the relevant documents.

    I am no stranger to the idea that I might be wrong. When someone
    points out facts that contradict my position, I pay attention. When
    the only critiques are based on me not having a secret decoder ring --
    whether the ring means "JD" or "DD" -- I tend to discount them.

    I do not pretend Debian should pay much attention to whether I think
    choice of venue is an appropriate tradeoff for the DFSG, for the
    reasons you mention. I do believe that many of the arguments in favor
    of choice of venue clauses are factually wrong[1], that those should
    be corrected before a decision is made, and that the decision should
    not be a casual one.

    [1]- e.g. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal.../msg00140.html

    [snip]
    >> Nitpick: The plaintiff would need to issue a summons to the defendant.
    >> A subpoena is for testimony or other fact discovery[1]. A defendant
    >> does not become a respondent until he responds to a particular
    >> filing[1]; the plaintiff would usually also be a respondent to certain
    >> motions[1].
    >>
    >> [1]- Ask Wikipedia, Google, or whatever floats your boat. These are
    >> not obscure legal facts or specific instances, they are basic terms.
    >> Would you take someone seriously who had strong programming opinions
    >> but thought "CC" was the name of a C compiler or claimed to know the
    >> Pearl _scripting_ language?

    >
    > It's interesting that you started the mail offended about the "ad hominem
    > attack" of noting you're not a developer; yet somehow you think a computer
    > expert who tries to avoid paying attention to legal arguments getting
    > "subpoena" and "summons" confused is an ignoramus who shouldn't be
    > taken seriously.
    >
    > And that is exactly an ad hominem fallacy -- attacking the person in
    > order to discredit their arguments, even though the flaws the person
    > may have don't actually affect their argument.


    I have not attacked your position by attacking you. I have pointed
    out where and why your posts were wrong, stated why I did not think my
    corrections needed to be backed up by specific citations, and asked if
    you would take seriously someone who made analogous errors of fact in
    a different area. You asserted in another post that -legal was often
    not taken seriously by the rest of Debian; it seems fair to point out
    why there may be similar feelings in the other direction, at least as
    far as legal analysis goes.

    Michael Poole


    --
    To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-devel-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
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  6. License discussions in Debian (was: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta)

    Anthony Towns wrote:

    > See, given that as an ftpmaster I'm one of the folks who actually
    > implements the policy on what's accepted into main or not, it's not my
    > loss at all.


    I think that Debian would very much benefit if there was a place (call
    it debian-legal@l.d.o or whatever) where our policy with regard to
    individual software's licenes could be discussed with the input of those
    who actually set this policy: the ftpmasters.

    If debian-legal isn't the place for you (and AFAIK none of the other
    ftpmasters is a regular), maybe we need a new start and a different
    format. But it's a pity that there's no way to get the ftpmasters'
    opinion except by trying, and no regular way at all, it seems, to get
    the reasons for their decisions.

    Regards, Frank
    --
    Frank Küster
    Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
    Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

  7. Re: License discussions in Debian (was: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta)

    Le lundi 04 juin 2007 à 23:08 +0200, Frank Küster a écrit :
    > I think that Debian would very much benefit if there was a place (call
    > it debian-legal@l.d.o or whatever) where our policy with regard to
    > individual software's licenes could be discussed with the input of those
    > who actually set this policy: the ftpmasters.


    I don't feel there is much disagreement between the general consensus on
    debian-legal and what is actually accepted by the ftpmasters. If the
    only case we have is the CDDL, on which people on debian-legal don't
    agree at all, maybe we could focus on more important infrastructure
    issues.

    --
    .''`.
    : :' : We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
    `. `' We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
    `- our own. Resistance is futile.

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  8. Re: License discussions in Debian (was: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta)

    On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 11:08:39PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    > Anthony Towns wrote:
    > > See, given that as an ftpmaster I'm one of the folks who actually
    > > implements the policy on what's accepted into main or not, it's not my
    > > loss at all.

    > I think that Debian would very much benefit if there was a place (call
    > it debian-legal@l.d.o or whatever) where our policy with regard to
    > individual software's licenes could be discussed with the input of those
    > who actually set this policy: the ftpmasters.


    Yes, that's the main reason for my involvement in this thread.

    Though it's not just ftpmasters, it's Debian developers in general; so
    that we don't end up with a consensus on debian-legal (or in ftpmaster)
    that doesn't match the views of Debian as a whole.

    AFAICS, that means welcoming developers who don't know the difference
    between "subpoena" and "summons", not using it as a reason to ignore
    them completely.

    > If debian-legal isn't the place for you (and AFAIK none of the other
    > ftpmasters is a regular), maybe we need a new start and a different
    > format.


    I used to be a regular on -legal, and I'm still subscribed. My views
    (such as "people who aren't speaking on behalf of the project shouldn't
    make it sound like they are"...) don't seem particularly welcome though,
    so I tend not to bother.

    I don't see any particular reason to think a new start or format would
    help much, but I'm open to suggestions.

    Cheers,
    aj


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  9. Re: License discussions in Debian

    Anthony Towns wrote:

    > On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 11:08:39PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    >> I think that Debian would very much benefit if there was a place (call
    >> it debian-legal@l.d.o or whatever) where our policy with regard to
    >> individual software's licenes could be discussed with the input of those
    >> who actually set this policy: the ftpmasters.

    >
    > Yes, that's the main reason for my involvement in this thread.
    >
    > Though it's not just ftpmasters, it's Debian developers in general; so
    > that we don't end up with a consensus on debian-legal (or in ftpmaster)
    > that doesn't match the views of Debian as a whole.


    That's true, as an ideal. In reality, you can't expect every DD or even
    maintainer to subscribe to -legal except when they've got a particular
    problem to discuss. In this case it's a pity when you finally get the
    impression that what you are told there neither matches the opinion of
    the majority of your colleagues, nor of the ftpmasters - but the
    ftpmasters' opinion is more insteresting for you in that case.

    > AFAICS, that means welcoming developers who don't know the difference
    > between "subpoena" and "summons", not using it as a reason to ignore
    > them completely.


    Definitely - if the NM process works as it should, at least every DD who
    entered since it's been established should have a working understanding
    of licensing, and that should be enough to *start* a discussion.

    I'm not sure, however, that this is the general attitude on -legal: I've
    never encountered it. Instead, I had the feeling that it was in
    particular directed at you, since you seemed to claim to have better
    understanding of the legal situation than your counterpart, and use that
    as an argument for your position: In which case I can well understand
    that the counterpart argues against this "better understanding".

    >> If debian-legal isn't the place for you (and AFAIK none of the other
    >> ftpmasters is a regular), maybe we need a new start and a different
    >> format.

    >
    > I used to be a regular on -legal, and I'm still subscribed. My views
    > (such as "people who aren't speaking on behalf of the project shouldn't
    > make it sound like they are"...) don't seem particularly welcome though,
    > so I tend not to bother.


    I don't expect that you engage in all those discussions. But I remember
    several cases where ftpmasters were mentioned on -legal, either in a
    phrase like "finally, you'd have to ask the ftpmasters", or in
    complaints like "the ftpmasters appear to have a different opinion, but
    we don't know why". In these cases, it would be really helpful if one
    of you could step up and take part in the discussion.

    And a mail like
    http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugre...;msg=142;att=0
    is not only not-helpful-at-all, it's really discouraging to see a
    discussion ending like this. Well, in that particular case I'd
    understand if you don't answer to the bug, but the reasoning could be
    published elsewhere where Mr. $greps_for_his_name_on_debian_lists cannot
    answer easily.

    Regards, Frank
    --
    Frank Küster
    Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
    Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

  10. Re: License discussions in Debian

    Am Dienstag, 5. Juni 2007 09:08:31 schrieb Frank Küster:
    > Anthony Towns wrote:
    > > On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 11:08:39PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:

    > And a mail like
    > http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugre...;msg=142;att=0
    > is not only not-helpful-at-all, it's really discouraging to see a
    > discussion ending like this. Well, in that particular case I'd
    > understand if you don't answer to the bug, but the reasoning could be
    > published elsewhere where Mr. $greps_for_his_name_on_debian_lists cannot
    > answer easily.


    I was the bug submitter. I asked Anthony in private mail and he gave a few
    reasons. I'm not really convinced by them, but in the end, it's not my
    responsability. I just make sure I don't install star on my systems and I'm
    done with it. If everyone else (maintainer, ftp-masters, mirror
    operators, ...) is happy with it, why should I bother any longer?

    Thomas

  11. Re: License discussions in Debian

    Thomas Weber wrote:

    > Am Dienstag, 5. Juni 2007 09:08:31 schrieb Frank Küster:
    >> Anthony Towns wrote:
    >> > On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 11:08:39PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:

    >> And a mail like
    >> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugre...;msg=142;att=0
    >> is not only not-helpful-at-all, it's really discouraging to see a
    >> discussion ending like this. Well, in that particular case I'd
    >> understand if you don't answer to the bug, but the reasoning could be
    >> published elsewhere where Mr. $greps_for_his_name_on_debian_lists cannot
    >> answer easily.

    >
    > I was the bug submitter. I asked Anthony in private mail and he gave a few
    > reasons. I'm not really convinced by them, but in the end, it's not my
    > responsability. I just make sure I don't install star on my systems and I'm
    > done with it. If everyone else (maintainer, ftp-masters, mirror
    > operators, ...) is happy with it, why should I bother any longer?


    You could ask Anthony whether you're allowed to publish his reasons on
    -legal. That would do the project a great favor.

    Regards, Frank
    --
    Frank Küster
    Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
    Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

  12. Re: License discussions in Debian

    On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 12:07:52PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    > You could ask Anthony whether you're allowed to publish his reasons on
    > -legal. That would do the project a great favor.


    You could just ask me directly you know...

    ] > I thought choice-of-venue is non-free by default?
    ]
    ] Via Simon Phipps's talk at debconf, we've got Sun on the record
    ] as interpreting "choice of venue" as only being relevant when the
    ] two parties to a suit both have a presence in multiple jurisdictions,
    ] including the one that's "chosen", which means it's not a problem at all.
    ]
    ] For the other case, even if Sun did want to make German laws apply to
    ] an Australian or similar, I don't think that holds up as a claim anyway.

    I don't think that's a particularly useful addition to what's already
    been in this thread. Well, beyond as inspiration as to how much better
    -legal could do if it was willing to come to with a conclusion of the
    form "this license is flawed in these novel ways, but none of them are
    enough to make it non-free for Debian".

    Cheers,
    aj


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  13. Re: License discussions in Debian

    On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 09:08:31AM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    > That's true, as an ideal. In reality, you can't expect every DD or even
    > maintainer to subscribe to -legal except when they've got a particular
    > problem to discuss.


    Sure, but you don't need or want that. All you need is an unbiassed
    sampling of developers to participate, which is to say the list needs
    to be just as open to extremist opinions from people who think the GFDL
    is completely "free" as people who think the GPL is actually "non-free".

    AFAICS the only way that's going to happen is by taking the view that
    Debian's definition of "free" as per the DFSG-free is just one view
    you can take, and that people who take alternative views -- whether
    stricter or more liberal, whether focussed on legal details or ignorant
    of them in favour of just doing stuff -- are still worth listening to,
    even though their views on what's free or not may well be fundamentally
    different to Debian's.

    If the only question is "is this free or not?" then you're going to get
    turf wars because there's just no middle ground, and whoever gets to make
    that decision controls the debate. Even just having analyses take the form
    of "these are the consequences, personally I'd avoid them, though Debian
    doesn't think the problem's a big enough deal to worry about; Don agrees
    with me, but Francesco doesn't" seems like it'd be most of the way there.

    But as it stands, -legal's analysis seems to me more to fit the mold of
    "this is conceivably bad in some circumstances, not the same as anything
    in any good licenses, therefore it's non-free, and that's all there is
    to it".

    > I'm not sure, however, that this is the general attitude on -legal: I've
    > never encountered it.


    Take Don and Jordi G. H.'s exchange this month:

    ] > If you disagree with the determination of the Developers, you can
    ] > easily install the work from non-free, or cease supporting Debian in
    ] > its entirety. The choice is yours, really.
    ]
    ] "Our way or the highway" isn't a nice thought either. Do you really
    ] think that the DDs that voted against putting the GFDL in non-free
    ] should fork off too? Debian is the best distro out there, and I'm very
    ] loyal to it, but I'malso very unhappy with its treatement of the
    ] GFDL, and I think this horrible mess should be fixed.

    And no, to be fair, skimming the archives does indicate it's not the
    "general attitude" at all, and I'm also pleased to have stumbled across
    an example of Michael Poole noting he's not a lawyer or DD while giving
    his thoughts/advice. Equally, if -legal were working 100% how I wanted
    it to, that'd just mean I'd be happy to trust it implicitly and wouldn't
    pay any attention to it at all; which probably means that the times
    I do pay attention now are the times it's going (imo) severely wrong,
    which is going to produce a pretty biassed view on my behalf.

    Comparing Ted Tso's and Thomas Bushnell's views, as cited on LWN some time
    ago [0] is probably a good reference point too. Having disagreements like
    the current one over choice of venue be escalated into claims that are
    one set of DDs are trying to "prov[e] they are Holier Than Stallman",
    or another are "sell[ing] out [freedom]" isn't very helpful if we want
    the DFSG to be useful at helping upstreams and users.

    In *my* opinion, and ymmv etc, analysing licenses so that we can say:

    * These are almost certainly the effects, which barely anyone
    disagrees with (GPL is viral, CDDL is viral and GPL
    incompatible, QPL requires modifications to be made as patches)

    * These are things that might not happen, but that you might be
    concerned at (GFDL stuff can't be encrypted, or even have Unix
    permission bits set? CDDL leaves you vulnerable to nuisance
    suits in foreign countries)

    * These are ways you can avoid some of the drawbacks (use
    MIT instead of the old BSD license, explicitly limit when
    "choice of venue" comes into play)

    * Different people and organisations may reasonably have different
    views on the acceptability of various effects -- the FSF view
    the Affero GPL and GFDL as free, OSI views the APSL as free;
    and you may want to make a different choice to any or all of
    those organisations. Debian's choices are focussed on ensuring
    we can develop and distribute a high quality operating system
    that works for our users. This may mean we'll accept some
    licenses that aren't as free as we'd like them to be, in
    some cases (such as licenses with patch clauses, or obnoxious
    advertising clauses, etc).

    From what I've seen, debian-legal isn't very good at accepting anything
    less free than it'd like. Which is pretty understandable, but not really
    helpful either in advocating Debian's views (which are more accepting),
    or in working with other groups (upstream or down) who don't have the
    patience for endless nitpicking.

    It could also be a lot better at summarising thoughts about what will
    and might happen for a given license. "We've discussed this years ago,
    read the archives" isn't a really good answer, obviously...

    If Debian's going to say a license isn't free enough, we should be able
    to explain, very simply and without needing to be very hypothetical or
    theoretical, how users/developers/distributors are going to be blocked
    from doing useful things, that is, what the bad effects are, not just
    point at the bad clause or your right/freedom that's being violated. If
    the CDDL is non-free, we ought to be able to come up with an explanation
    like:

    If someone creates a new version of OpenSolaris, don't assign
    their copyright to Sun, and you download and use it, they can
    [...] and thus prevent you from travelling to anywhere in
    the United States or Canada without having to pay extortionate
    damages -- simply by the fact that you've downloaded and used
    their software.

    that's sufficient to convince reasonable people (not just people who've
    already signed onto the DFSG) that they don't want to use non-Sun
    copyrighted versions of OpenSolaris.

    (Sun versions of OpenSolaris are different in that, aiui, we have a Sun
    rep or two on the record as indicating that circumstance isn't intended,
    which should be sufficient to stop it actually happening. If we decide
    our acceptance of the CDDL relies on that assurance, then we can add
    it to debian/copyright for packages it covers, and not distribute ones
    it doesn't)

    Cheers,
    aj

    [0] http://lwn.net/Articles/82536/


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  14. Re: License discussions in Debian

    Am Dienstag, 5. Juni 2007 14:20:40 schrieb Anthony Towns:
    > On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 12:07:52PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    > > You could ask Anthony whether you're allowed to publish his reasons on
    > > -legal. That would do the project a great favor.

    >
    > You could just ask me directly you know...


    As my mail to you was private as well, I think Frank's approach was correct.


    > ] Via Simon Phipps's talk at debconf, we've got Sun on the record
    > ] as interpreting "choice of venue" as only being relevant when the
    > ] two parties to a suit both have a presence in multiple jurisdictions,
    > ] including the one that's "chosen", which means it's not a problem at all.
    > ]
    > ] For the other case, even if Sun did want to make German laws apply to
    > ] an Australian or similar, I don't think that holds up as a claim anyway.
    >
    > I don't think that's a particularly useful addition to what's already
    > been in this thread.


    Actually, it is. If you look at the sub-thread involving Arnoud Engelfriet,
    you will see that Simon's idea of ' "choice of venue" being only important
    for multinational companies' is flawed, at least for the case at hand (star,
    choice of venue: Berlin, Germany, Europe).

    The same goes for the second paragraph as well (well, not for Australia and
    the United States, but EU is not that small, either).

    Additionally, the cited text is Sun's interpretation. What's the
    interpretation of star's licensor?

    Thomas


    --
    To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-devel-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
    with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster@lists.debian.org

  15. Re: License discussions in Debian

    Thomas Weber wrote:

    > Am Dienstag, 5. Juni 2007 14:20:40 schrieb Anthony Towns:
    >> On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 12:07:52PM +0200, Frank K?ster wrote:
    >> > You could ask Anthony whether you're allowed to publish his reasons on
    >> > -legal. That would do the project a great favor.

    >>
    >> You could just ask me directly you know...

    >
    > As my mail to you was private as well, I think Frank's approach was correct.


    For what it's worth, I think it would have been correct to attach this
    information to the bug log in the first place.

    Regards, Frank
    --
    Frank Küster
    Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
    Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

  16. Re: License discussions in Debian

    On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 10:20:40PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
    > ] > I thought choice-of-venue is non-free by default?


    An example of a different MPL 1.1 derived choice-of-venue clause is
    firebird2's:

    This License shall be governed by California law provisions (except to
    the extent applicable law, if any, provides otherwise), excluding its
    conflict-of-law provisions. With respect to disputes in which at least
    one party is a citizen of, or an entity chartered or registered to
    do business in the United States of America, any litigation relating
    to this License shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal
    Courts of the Northern District of California, with venue lying in
    Santa Clara County, California, with the losing party responsible
    for costs, including without limitation, court costs and reasonable
    attorneys' fees and expenses.

    Perhaps a more interesting example is xserver-xorg-core's inclusion of the
    GLX Public License, which includes:

    Any litigation relating to this License shall be subject to the
    exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Courts of the Northern District
    of California (or, absent subject matter jurisdiction in such courts,
    the courts of the State of California), with venue lying exclusively
    in Santa Clara County, California, with the losing party responsible
    for costs, including without limitation, court costs and reasonable
    attorneys fees and expenses.

    The CID Font Code Public License and the SGI Free Software License B in the same
    package have similar clauses.

    Sourced from http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal.../msg00113.html and
    some quick grepping through copyright files in the lintian lab on gluck.

    Cheers,
    aj


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  17. Re: License discussions in Debian

    On Wed, Jun 6, 2007 at 06:07:46 +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:

    > Perhaps a more interesting example is xserver-xorg-core's inclusion of the
    > GLX Public License, which includes:
    >
    > Any litigation relating to this License shall be subject to the
    > exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Courts of the Northern District
    > of California (or, absent subject matter jurisdiction in such courts,
    > the courts of the State of California), with venue lying exclusively
    > in Santa Clara County, California, with the losing party responsible
    > for costs, including without limitation, court costs and reasonable
    > attorneys fees and expenses.
    >
    > The CID Font Code Public License and the SGI Free Software License B in the same
    > package have similar clauses.
    >
    > Sourced from http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal.../msg00113.html and
    > some quick grepping through copyright files in the lintian lab on gluck.
    >


    Given #211765 and friends, you could probably have found better examples
    (and choice of venue is not the most important issue with these). The
    CID Font Code Public License is probably not relevant anymore, btw, the
    affected code has been removed upstream, and the only reference to this
    license I can find in the X server tree is in debian/copyright

    Cheers,
    Julien

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