[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Squeak in Debian?

Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> If Apple put in code they don't own and Debian distributed it, then
> clause 5 means that when the people sue Apple for that distribution,
> Debian has to pay for Apple's defense.  Normally, Debian would only
> pay for Debian's defense.

Notice, though, that clause 5 still limits liability to the extent it is
connected with the distribution.  Is this a problem?  If someone sues
Apple over a trademark or patent violation, then we are not liable.  We
are only liable in cases like, someone sues Apple for us distributing
Squeak to Fidel Castro.  Of course, they could have just sued us directly,
so we are already liable for this sort of nonsense for all software we
distribute.  I don't see how this clause adds realistic burden to what
we already endure just by living in a litigious age.

Overall this clause seems like a reasonable request.  They are
saying that if we do something that gets them sued, then they can hold
us responsible for the legal fees. The clause carefully limits our liability
to the extent our actions cause them to get sued.

> Clauses 3 and 4 just means that if the code doesn't work, don't
> complain to Apple.  That only closes out a narrow class of reasons to
> sue Apple.

The clauses are broader than that.  Clause three in particular goes
on and on about the software being "as is", about there being no
warranty express or implied, that the software is not fully tested,
and so on.  These clauses carve out a huge swath of things that
Apple cannot be sued about, which is good for us.

Now, in addition to the requirements being reasonable, I do not see
them becoming an issue in practice.   There are several reasons
any legal activity is extremely unlikely:

	1. Apple has abandoned the software.  No one associates
	Squeak with Apple these days.
	2. No one has motivation to sue Apple over *distribution* of Squeak,
	even if someone did concoct a reason to go after Apple over Squeak.
	3. We would be in good company, because Squeak is already distributed
	like crazy.  Aside from #2, it is exceedingly unlikely that our distribution
	will add any *new* problem.
	4. Apple is trying to support open source; it would be horrible PR for 
	them should they try and trick legal fees out of an open source grop.

Finally, as with export clauses, we are already distributing software that has
an indemnification clause.  Here's a clause from the GLX license, which is
applied to package libx11-6 and others:

11. Indemnity. Recipient shall be solely responsible for damages arising,
directly or indirectly, out of its utilization of rights under this License.
Recipient will defend, indemnify and hold harmless Silicon Graphics, Inc.
from and against any loss, liability, damages, costs or expenses (including
the payment of reasonable attorneys fees) arising out of Recipient's use,
modification, reproduction and distribution of the Subject Software or out of
any representation or warranty made by Recipient.

Overall, if we decide to be completely paranoid about these things, then it is
a slippery slope to kicking all kinds of things out of Debian.  Please remember
that our Social Contract specifies two goals: both to promote free software,
*and* to support our users.  We shouldn't set the bar so high that our users
end up with crippled systems.

No one loves Squeak-L, and many people have suggested good ways it could
be improved.  Nevertheless, it's what we have to work with, and I think it meets
a sufficient threshold that we should include it.  It's useful, it's important to
software, and it's quite free in practice.


Reply to: