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Re: Bug#181493: SUN RPC code is DFSG-free



[Mailing Debian glibc package maintainers and Debian Release Manager in
their official capacities.  My apolgies for the duplicate for those of
you who are also subscribed to debian-legal, which is CCed.]

On Thu, Sep 04, 2003 at 05:17:28PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
[...]
> No, the burden of proof is on those who advocate a change, and it's not
> been met.

I wish you had been more forthcoming with your understanding of the
removal of DFSG-non-free works from main way back around
<URL:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-ctte/2001/debian-ctte-200108/msg00000.html
>.

The fact that I could cite the presence of the DFSG-non-free chunk of
XFree86 source in Debian main all the way back (AFAIK) to its very first
packaging for the Debian Project as precedent for its retention would
definitely have saved us all an irritating flamewar.

To recapitulate:
* The Sun RPC license fails the DFSG on its face, as it withholds
  essential freedoms from people who do not develop software using it
  for themselves.
* No advocate of an alternative interpretation of this license which
  would render it DFSG-free has been able to do better that cite
  second-rumors of some sort of clarification being made in the past,
  somewhere.
* To date, at least in the logs of this bug report as far as
  I can tell, no advocate of retaining the SUN RPC code in Debian main
  has identified a single person from whom this license-clarifying
  hearsay was uttered, which makes it impossible to verify even the fact
  that such claims were made.
* Former inclusion of a DFSG-non-free work in Debian main due to
  ignorance was not a good enough reason to retain it there in August
  2001, and to my knowledge we haven't changed our Social Contract such
  that it is now.

Given the above, all we have are bare assertions that the SUN RPC code
is somehow DFSG-free despite its explicit terms, and all questions as to
how exactly this is so have been dismissed as unimportant.

This is no way to run a railroad, or a Free Software distribution.

Is any member of the GNU C Library maintenance team in Debian attempting
to research this problem via their upstream contacts?  If not, do any
members of this team object to another Debian Developer doing so?

For the Release Manager: What standard do you set for the repudiation of
the aforementioned hearsay?  You are placing the Developers in the
interesting posititon of proving a negative, and obviously we cannot
poll everyone in the world who's ever had anything to do with the SUN
RPC license or the conditions of its inclusion in the GNU C Library
(this is mainly due to the low likelihood that a comprehensive list of
such people can be made).

For example, which of the following (either singly or in combination)
would serve as repudiation of the alleged license clarification?:

* Sun Microsystems, Inc. asserts that the license terms under which the
  code appears in the GNU C Library are the only ones under which the
  code is available;
* A person with commit rights to the GNU C Library source repository
  upstream asserts that no such clarification has been made;
* No person with commit rights to the GNU C Library source repository
  who responds to our queries is able to claim firsthand knowledge of
  any such clarification;
* Every person who has ever had commit rights to the GNU C Library
  source repository swears out an affidavit that they know of no other
  terms under which the SUN RPC code is available for distribution with
  the GNU C Library.

(Feel free to add your own criteria; as with many endeavors to prove a
negative, such a list is going to be open-ended.)

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |       The only way to get rid of a
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       temptation is to yield to it.
branden@debian.org                 |       -- Oscar Wilde
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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