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Re: If Debian decides that the Gnu Free Doc License is not free...

> ["About" menu item]
> First time users go to them expecting to find out what
> the program does, and instead they get the name of the author and remain
> just as puzzled about what the program itself is for as they were
> before. I hate them.

I see.. :) It has become a GUI idiom though, so most people probably know 
already what an "About" box is.

> I want the same visibility of credits for reiserfs that movies give for
> their actors.

An interesting point. However, a movie goer is prepared for five minutes of 
credits with entertaining music in the background before 2 hours of the 
actual movie but a person running a disk utility will probably find it quite 
distracting to see a lot of stuff unrelated to the task at hand. What she 
appreciates, is information about the process.

There are always quite a few programs involved in almost any task you make in 
Unix. If the kernel, disk driver, shell, sed, readline and disk utilities all 
wrote their credits while formatting a disk, the operating system would be 
nearly unusable. In that perspective, I hope you can understand why a Debian 
developer striving to put together a quality OS may consider it necessary to 
trim the output. A small amount of credits (perhaps pointing to a complete 
author list) is usually fine  but if it's more than, say, 5 lines.. It's a 
balancing act between respecting the original work of the software authors 
and the wishes and needs of the users.

What would you suggest as a solution?

> I don't want the distro choosing how they are displayed
> because some distros do things like create boot time splash screens that
> tell about themselves instead of the authors, and so I have to say that
> their track record demonstrates that they cannot be trusted with that
> task.

Mm.. I guess such splash screens are made mainly for two reasons: making their 
marketing easier and because novice users feel intimidated by screenfulls of 
text at startup. I agree that the first reason can be seen as a disrespectful 
act but the coin also has another side: compelling marketing of free 
operating systems helps giving them a wider audience, which is good for the 
distributed software, too.

> If someone wants to create a boot program and/or screensaver that picks
> a random OS component to describe the authors of at boot time, that
> would be nicest of all.

Yes, that's certainly a nice idea. (It would also mask the Linux driver's 
credits though, but at least they would get the same treatment as the rest of 
the system.)

- Jarno

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