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Re: Squeak in Debian?

<posted & mailed>

Lex Spoon wrote:

> Agreed on all counts, Brian.
> I actually think Squeak should go into non-free on Debian, once the
> fonts are removed from the image.  I've been meaning to develop a
> message to debian-legal about this for quite a while, and now Roland's
> post and Alan Kay's Turing award seem to be creating a good time to do
> that  right now.  Here goes.
> The initial analysis of Squeak's license for Debian was made by Stephen
> Stafford several years ago:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200110/msg00028.
> html
We're being more careful now.  :-)

> Others in the world are not letting this license deter them.  Squeak has
We're more careful than them.

> a vibrant open source community.  Its mailing list has 50-100 messages
> per day, and its swiki has 177 contributors registered on its Author
> Initials page.  Squeak includes over 300,000 lines of code in it, mostly
> written *after* Squeak was released from Apple.   People have used
> Squeak across the world in education, commerce, and research.  Its EToy
> subsystem has been translated to 5 other languages.
> People have even used Squeak for research at Disney.  Consider that:
> *Disney* thought it was safe to use and redistribute Squeak.  If Disney,
> a company who is very knowledgable of IP, is unafraid, then does Debian
> need to be?
Disney has more lawyers than God.  Debian doesn't.

> The issues other than the indemnification clause are more clearcut.  The
> fonts clauses become irrelevant if the fonts are removed, and they
> certainly can be.  The export clause just means Squeak must go into
> non-free.

I noticed some more *much* nastier clauses on a first look.

There's no general permission to redistribute!  Yes, that's right! The only
permission to redistribute is here:
"This License allows you to copy, install and use the Apple Software on an
unlimited number of computers under your direct control."  That "under your
direct control" restriction is potentially weird and nasty.  It seems to
prohibit installations and placement of copies on a computer by anyone who
doesn't have physical control over the computer, or at least root
privileges.  :-/  This is by far the worst clause, because it seems to mean
that Squeak can't even be distributed in non-free.  :-P

It also has a forced-distribution clause for modifications; I can't make
modifications and give them to my wife without publishing them to the whole
world.  That is generally considered non-free by Debian (dissident and
desert island tests).  It also appears to be deliberate and intentional. 
(However, it's fine for 'non-free'.)

> Incidentally, it seems very unlikely that Squeak's license will change
> in the near future.  I have attempted to organize license changes, but
> have failed to get people under any consensus about what to do.
Can you at least get the "direct control" clause changed?  What the heck is
that restriction for anyway?

> In sum, I think Squeak should go into non-free once the restricted fonts
> are removed from the image.  We must choose what level of paranoia we
> will have about licenses, and I believe we have been too paranoid about
> Squeak's indemnification clause.
Forget the indemnification; how about the "direct control" problem?  If
that's solved, and the fonts are removed, I believe it could go in

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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