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Re: Packages needing a new maintainer

On Thu, May 18, 2000 at 04:22:02AM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Tue, May 16, 2000 at 06:17:21PM +0300, Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho wrote:
> >       mmorph - a two-level morphology implementation
> >       
> > 	  Upstream is very unresponsive but still alive.  There is
> > 	  another Linux port that should be investigated.  There is
> > 	  one outstanding bug that I have not been able to resolve
> > 	  (possibly requires signing an NDA on a dataset to reproduce,
> > 	  possibly not our bug at all).
> Boy, I sure hope anyone who adopts this would refuse to do that.
> User comes to you and says "fix my bug, but for you to reproduce it I'm
> going to need to shackle you with these legal conditions"?  To hell with
> that.

I haven't looked at the above bug, but I don't think this is
necessarily unreasonably or contrary to the spirit of free software.

Consider: [No, I'm not the author of a database package, it's an

User: Hey, Jules, your JellyDB rocks!
Me:   Well, thanks!
User: I've found a nasty bug, though, it hangs sometimes when I do a
      query involving ....

[I work with the user, looking at his query, but we can't work out
between us what is broken.  He looks at the source with me, but he's
no guru]

Me:   Any chance I can look at your dataset?  I'll replicate the
      problem here, and then it'll be easier to track down!
User: Uh, the thing is, I work in a hospital; this is confidential
      medical records.  I'd need you to sign a strict confidentiality
      agreement with me.
Me:   Hey, no problem!

I don't think the hypothetical Me did anything against the spirit of
free software there.  I don't approve of NDAs for hardware specs, etc,
but I can see that there are plenty of other kinds of confidential
information which might help replicate a bug, and I'd certainly be
prepared to swear confidentiality on that.


Jules Bean                          |        Any sufficiently advanced 
jules@{debian.org,jellybean.co.uk}  |  technology is indistinguishable
jmlb2@hermes.cam.ac.uk              |               from a perl script

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