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Re: xearth debian developer database decision

Dale Scheetz Wrote:
> On Wed, 12 Nov 1997, Brian White wrote:
> > > All right, fiat mode on.
> > > 
> > > I'm going to work under the assumption that the data _is_ copyrightable
> > > until someone proves otherwise.
> > 
> > As far as I understand it, "data" cannot be copyrighted.  It is always
> > public domain.  However, you can copyright a "collection of data".
> > 

This is sortof the beauty of the decision that the file/data be GPL:
If it turns out to be non-copyrightable, then whatever copyright
we use, it will be void, and no harm will be done by saying it was GPL.
If it turns out that we can copyright the data, then, well, it's GPL.

> I think my point is that, even with expert legal advise, resolving issues
> of copyright are never going to speak to the problem. It seems to me the
> problem lies with those who do not wish such information about themselves
> to be made public. 
> It seems to me that the approach here should be to find a "limited" set of
> data about maintainers, that we can all agree to publishing. I can see
> someone complaining about a list of names and email addresses, but they
> already exist, so it seems that this is the "starting" point for
> negotiations.

I see no reason for any maintainer to keep his debian.org adress secret.
Really, why on xearth would I want to keep joostje@debian.org secret? It's
not going to stop anyone mailing me, they would just use 
menu@packages.debian.org. But I digress.

> Does anyone in the group object to having a database of
> names, email addresses, and LAT LON coordinates of home rounded to the
> nearest degree? 

Well, I object to the maintainer rounding my coordinates to the nearest
degree: I took great pains to pin-point my coordinates to about my street.
(Note that I don't want to *prosecute* the maintainer who rounds my
coordinates with any non-mod-licence. I just would eighter file a 
bug against the database, or politely ask him/her to supply my precise

But I can understand that someone doesn't want his precise coordinates
in the file. But s/he is free to eighter not supply that information
to the project, or request the removal of that data from the database

> Beyond that, can anyone think of some other information
> that would be valuable to the general public? (I can't come up with
> anything free from objection)

Well, I've been having this silly idea: if we realy automate the
acquisition of the data, we could use it for "trivial polling":
whenever there's a discussion on debian-devel, the database maintainer would
add another field (like "I support Ian's objections to DFSG: Yes/No") and
the website could automatically count the votes. We would then much faster
have a reasonable view of the position of the maintainers on the issue.
(this is assuming that maintainers are more eager to post
to a vote-taking computer, than to send a "me-too" to debian-devel. 
I hope this is true).

> While I understand the need for the project to have a record of "physical"
> location for each of us, I think that this information should not be made
> public information.

I agree it shouldn't be compulsory for maintainers to supply that data
in the database file. But I personally rather liked the idea that other
people can see that I live in "the Neterlands/Leiden/Ir.Driessenstraat 127".

> What protections does SPI have from "examination" of "internal" documents?

Does it need protections? Cannot we just say we don't give private information?

Oh, and some people objected to GPL because they were afraid that GPL
requires us to supply the *complete* source (including the confidential
fields). For this I would like to suggest the following procedure:

 - When a maintainer signs on he has to supply some information
   (contact info, whatever). This info will (as I'm sure it currently
   does) go into a private, secret file, that only a limited number
   of people are allowed to view (who?), and isn't intended to be
   copied at all.

 - The Maintainer's database maintainer collect the information
   completely seperately from the above private info. Every information
   supplied to the maintainer will be intended for inclusion in the
   public database. 

This way, the private and public database files have different sources,
and the public database file being GPL doesn't require us to give up
the private info too.

Actually, from what I understand, this is already how things are done
at the moment. But I have to say I don't know what information is
requested from new maintainers, that would be included in the private
database (if it exists). At least I'm sure that the data collection
for the public database was done completely independantly from the
private database (if the latter exists).

joost witteveen, joostje@debian.org

My spamfilter is so good, it correctly catches 90% of incoming spam,
*including* all email from my PhD supervisor.

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