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Re: Sun Java available from non-free

On Sun, 21 May 2006 20:20:09 -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:

> Adam Warner <lists@consulting.net.nz> writes:
>> As Bill Allombert just pointed out, the Intention To Package process was
>> clearly subverted:
>> <http://www.debian.org/doc/developers-reference/ch-pkgs.en.html#s-newpackage>
>>    Assuming no one else is already working on your prospective package,
>>    you must then submit a bug report (Bug reporting, Section 7.1)
>>    against the pseudo-package wnpp describing your plan to create a new
>>    package, including, but not limiting yourself to, a description of
>>    the package, the license of the prospective package, and the current
>>    URL where it can be downloaded from.
>> That is, "you must" submit descriptions of the new packages, including
>> their license(s).
> Er, statements in the Developer's Reference are not Policy and are not a
> requirement for Debian Developers.  The word "must" there does not mean
> what it means in Policy.
> It's an important document and certainly something that every developer
> should read and endeavor to follow where it makes sense, but things go
> into the Developer's Reference rather than Policy frequently precisely
> *because* they don't make sense as global requirements and there are
> reasons why one might not wish to follow them.

You're correct. So can you give reasonable and legitimate reasons why "one
might not wish to follow" the "you must" guidelines in this instance?

> It is, in fact, quite common for no ITP to be filed when the people doing
> the work believe that everyone involved already knows that it's going on
> and the ITP would serve no useful coordination purpose.

Yet in this case the ITP would have served an extremely useful
coordination purpose: letting interested parties participate. It would
only have served no useful purpose if the intent was to ensure the
packages went into non-free without dissent.

> For example, I don't recall any ITPs filed for all the X.Org 7 packages,
> and I think doing so would have been silly.

Because there was general consensus to move to x.org after *massive*
discussion on public mailing lists, including debian-legal. Also a
staggering amount of publicly accessible work was available while the
packages were being developed, all archived in debian-x.

>> When did we decide, as a community, to defend and indemnify Sun for the
>> community's mistakes in packaging Sun's implementation of Java the
>> language and platform?
> Since Debian has no legal existence as an entity, we clearly didn't.
> There is no legal "Debian" entity that could take on such an obligation
> other than the SPI, and I think it's clear that the SPI didn't in this
> case. I'd say that the obvious interpretation would be that the
> ftp-masters take on that responsibility individually.

I'll tone down the rhetoric: Having FTP masters Anthony Towns (aka The
Debian Project Leader), James Troup and Ryan Murray personally liable to
defend and indemnify Sun for mistakes made in the Debian packaging and
distribution of Sun Java could adversely affect the wider Debian community.


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