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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> No, I'm saying Debian's about free software, not about your favourite
> set of politics. We don't have a problem with the United States using
> Debian to aim their nuclear weapons, nor China using Debian to track
> down the Falun Gong.

China is opposed to *free software*.  Didn't you know that?

> The whole point is to make the test be extreme, that's how you get
> clarity.  But it still has to make sense. It's entirely plausible that me
> and a friend could be stuck with our solar powered laptops on a desert
> island, and get bored and decide to hack on some free software. Not
> _likely_, maybe, but believable, and a generalisation of a lot of
> similar situations.

Sure!  But those people on the island: if they disregard the license,
nothing bad will happen.  It's the converse to your point about the
Chinese Dissident test: that the copyright owner's license is the
least of the dissidents' worries.  Sure, no argument from me there!

The point is that there are plenty of less extreme cases which have
the same problems.  Our tests have generally been framed in the most
extreme terms, precisely because in that way we know we are including
all the less extreme (but more likely, and more relevant) cases.  

So the question is: when that dissident visits the US, are they going
to be liable for copyright infringement?  We want to make sure the
answer is "no".  And there *are* dissidents in China, using free
software *right now*.  Which makes that test a whole lot more actually
relevant than the desert island test, where I'm willing to say that I
don't think there is anybody lost on a desert island sharing software
with their friends.

> > Well, the FSF's privacy freedom *does* seem to imply the Chinese
> > Dissident test, to me.  
> It doesn't: a dissident can quite happily not mention that their software
> exists, and not notify anyone about any changes or publication that
> they're undertaking; and _still_ be required to give up their changes
> when someone (whether it be the police, the government, or the original
> author).

I think my intuition behind the test is that the dissident shouldn't
be dependent on the good graces of the author.  If the author demands
the changes, and is then a bastard (say, the PRC offers him a big
bribe if he'll spill his secrets---the US seems happy to take such
bribes), the users' cooperation with copyright law should not end up
getting them killed.

> Uh, it's exactly equivalent to the GPL's interactivity requirement;
> except it applies to HTML generation, not interactive programs, and that
> it's less in your face when you're using it.

I'm not entirely happy about the GPL's interactivity requirement, but
the only thing that makes me think it's reasonable is that it is (in
some places) the only way to have the no-warranty clause be honored by
the courts, and the original author should be able to limit his
warranty damages.  The forced-ad-on-web-pages doesn't meet any purpose
except the author's vanity.

> > > 	(b) If asked by the authors, you must provide them with a copy
> > > 	    of your changes to the source code changes at cost.
> > "If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify
> > anyone in particular."
> Yes. Are you misunderstanding what the word "notify" means?

Under that clause (b), the authors can say to anyone: "I hereby
request you to provide me the source for any changes you have made or
ever make in the future."

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