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Re: Knuth statement on renaming cm files and Licence violation.

Thomas Bushnell, BSG <tb@becket.net> writes:
> Russ Allbery <rra@stanford.edu> writes:
>> Thomas Bushnell, BSG <tb@becket.net> writes:

>>> And note that it begins with "I decided to put these fonts into the
>>> public domain; all I have asked is that ..."

>>> Note that if this means *anything* at all, the request is a mere
>>> request and not legally binding.

>> Surely you're not arguing that makes any difference.  Surely you're not
>> claiming that Debian should ignore a very reasonable request by Donald
>> Knuth because you think you've found a legal loophole in his statement.
>> Surely you're just saying this to make an obscure pedantic point, not
>> to indicate that it should have anything whatsoever to do with what
>> Debian does.

> I fear that you have lost track of the context of the (rather complex)
> discussion.

Perhaps in part, but your line of reasoning above makes me extremely
uncomfortable.  When the author of a package has clearly stated their
expectations and requirements for redistribution, it seems like that
should be treated as the license, even if they didn't cross the
appropriate legal "t".  To do anything else seems... well, extremely
rude.  Even if Debian is not violating the intended license directly, to
base a stance on the viewpoint that the license is legally uninforcable
and therefore irrelevant seems rather disconcerting.

(I'm probably representing this position as stronger than you're actually
intending to argue.)

In other words, that doesn't strike me as the right way to resolve a
licensing problem.  It seems much better to me to view Knuth's statements
as the license and then try to figure out if that really does violate the
DFSG, and if so, whether that means the license really is incompatible
with Debian's underlying principals or if the DFSG didn't anticipate this

> The issue is that Debian needs to be sure that our users have certain
> freedoms, even if we think it would be foolish to exercise them, and
> even if we have no intention of exercising them ourselves.

I must admit that I fail to see where Knuth's license poses any sort of
issue for the DFSG.  The Artistic License has a very similar provision,
and point 4 of the DFSG specifically states:

    The license may require derived works to carry a different name or
    version number from the original software.

Russ Allbery (rra@stanford.edu)             <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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