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Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

Anthony Towns writes:

> Uh, dude, "IANAL" is a way of indicating that you may not actually have
> a clue what you're talking about because it's all just amateur opinions.
> Once upon a time -legal used to be littered with it; now days the concept
> that regular posters to -legal might be mistaken seems to be rather alien.

In dealing with areas that I have researched thoroughly and lived
through, I am not afraid to say that facts are facts.  When I am not
sure, I throw in appropriate qualifiers (such as "I cannot imagine
xxx", "At least in the US, ..." or even "IANAL").  When I do not think
I have enough good information to make a useful contribution, I make
no comment.  When appropriate, I cite the relevant documents.

I am no stranger to the idea that I might be wrong.  When someone
points out facts that contradict my position, I pay attention.  When
the only critiques are based on me not having a secret decoder ring --
whether the ring means "JD" or "DD" -- I tend to discount them.

I do not pretend Debian should pay much attention to whether I think
choice of venue is an appropriate tradeoff for the DFSG, for the
reasons you mention.  I do believe that many of the arguments in favor
of choice of venue clauses are factually wrong[1], that those should
be corrected before a decision is made, and that the decision should
not be a casual one.

[1]- e.g. http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2007/05/msg00140.html

>> Nitpick: The plaintiff would need to issue a summons to the defendant.
>> A subpoena is for testimony or other fact discovery[1].  A defendant
>> does not become a respondent until he responds to a particular
>> filing[1]; the plaintiff would usually also be a respondent to certain
>> motions[1].
>> [1]- Ask Wikipedia, Google, or whatever floats your boat.  These are
>> not obscure legal facts or specific instances, they are basic terms.
>> Would you take someone seriously who had strong programming opinions
>> but thought "CC" was the name of a C compiler or claimed to know the
>> Pearl _scripting_ language?
> It's interesting that you started the mail offended about the "ad hominem
> attack" of noting you're not a developer; yet somehow you think a computer
> expert who tries to avoid paying attention to legal arguments getting
> "subpoena" and "summons" confused is an ignoramus who shouldn't be
> taken seriously.
> And that is exactly an ad hominem fallacy -- attacking the person in
> order to discredit their arguments, even though the flaws the person
> may have don't actually affect their argument.

I have not attacked your position by attacking you.  I have pointed
out where and why your posts were wrong, stated why I did not think my
corrections needed to be backed up by specific citations, and asked if
you would take seriously someone who made analogous errors of fact in
a different area.  You asserted in another post that -legal was often
not taken seriously by the rest of Debian; it seems fair to point out
why there may be similar feelings in the other direction, at least as
far as legal analysis goes.

Michael Poole

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