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Xpdf fuckware



This is a copy of an exchange between Hamish Moffatt (maintainer of
the xpdf package) and myself. I think it's an important discussion.
Hamish requested that I post this here.

> On Sun, Mar 11, 2001 at 11:54:36AM +0000, Adam Langley wrote:
> > Xpdf follows Adobe's joke "copy-protection" system in PDFs where the
> > reader will refuse to copy text or print the document if the PDF has
> > some bits set. If the author of xpdf wants to do that - it's their own
> > choice. However, Debian shouldn't be a party to it. I've attached a
> > tiny patch which uncripples xpdf (apply in the xpdf-0.92/xpdf
> > directory). Could you please apply this to future Debian packages of
> > xpdf?

On Sun, Mar 11, 2001 at 11:11:05PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> Upstream's precanned reply to this is at 
> http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/cracking.html

I read it, which is why I didn't bother mailing him about it.
 
> It makes an interesting point, imho. If you want me to apply this
> patch, we're going to have to discuss this on debian-devel and/or
> debian-legal first. Feel free to post about this. I'll go with
> whatever the majority decides.

Ok, I'm a Freenet (freenetproject.org) developer if that helps you
understand where I'm coming from on this.

"In light of this, it would be very hypocritical of me to, on one
hand, ask people to honour my licensing restrictions, and, on the other
hand, bypass (or assist others in bypassing) another author's
requested restrictions."

The code I write is under the GPL - but simply because it makes things
easier when I want to include GPLed code. As far as I'm concerned, my
code is public domain.

The GPL (gross simplification) says "Do what you like with it, but
grant this permission to others". It tries to remove closed boundaries
and uses copyright (which was designed to do the opposite) because
thats the current legal reality.

The PDF fuckware (Futile Unnatural Control Keeping Ware, credit to
Oskar Sandberg for that) is on the same road as DVD CSS and HDTV. A
desperate and destructive attempt to enforce copyrights in a world
where they no longer make sense.

These technical measures will be broken and companies will try harder
and harder to enforce them - stepping on everything in their path. See
the copy-control ATA spec for an example of companies trying to
control everything in order to protect their profit margin.

John Gilmore wrote very lucidly on this at
http://www.toad.com/gnu/whatswrong.html

> If you want me to apply this patch, we're going to have to discuss
> this on debian-devel and/or debian-legal first. Feel free to post
> about this. I'll go with whatever the majority decides.

As requested, I'll take this to debian-devel

AGL

-- 
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

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