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Re: Bug#316487: debian-installer-manual: Missing copyright credit: Karsten M. Self for section C.4

On Fri, 1 Jul 2005 20:36:51 -0400 Glenn Maynard wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 02, 2005 at 12:17:43AM +0200, Francesco Poli wrote:
> > Wait one second...
> > Of course excision is possible, but is it really a good idea?
> > I don't think so.
> That's not d-legal's decision, or the DPL's.  It's the maintainer's
> decision.

Of course it's the maintainer's decision.
But it was a DIG writer's past decision to incorporate Karsten's
document in the DIG, as well.
It was done without proper credit in violation of Karsten's license.
Now Karsten has been asking for proper credit for a long time, it seems.

It sounds suspicious that the decision to rewrite from scratch the
section under question is taken just now: it looks like it's not taken
for technical reasons, but only in order to avoid crediting Karsten.
I'm not arguing that this is actually the case: I trust Joey, if he says
the rewriting will be done for technical reasons.
But anyway, I feel that, in order to avoid giving the *impression* that
Debian doesn't like crediting external contributions, the best solution
is adding proper credit as soon as possible (this should actually have
been done in the first place, or, at least, long before this point...),
in all released versions.
The rewriting can be done later, as the maintainer sees fit and if it's
seen as technically useful.

In other words: Karsten's document is (or will be) licensed in a
GPL-compatible way, was previously judged valuable as a starting point
for one DIG section and was admittedly incorporated with modifications
into the DIG.
I don't see a reason to refuse crediting him.
After proper credit has been inserted, there's of course no obligation
to keep his contribution forever.
Doing a difficult (from a legal standpoint) clean-room reimplementation
in order to avoid adding a little credit sounds unreasonable.
If there are other reasons to do that, I don't see why it's been done
just now: why not later? why wasn't it done in the past (before Karsten
began to complain, for instance)?

> > Think about it: Karsten wrote a valuable document and is offering it
> > under the GPL; in these times of non-free documentation everywhere,
> > how can you ask more from him?
> I believe I saw Joey offering to rewrite the documentation, with his
> own time, and only asked to have the relevant sections identified.

And I of course appreciate Joey's effort.
But I ask myself: why isn't Joey the only DIG writer and copyright
Because other people contributed and their contributions are judged
It's called cooperative development and it requires proper credit and
copyright observance.
As long as Karsten's contribution is considered useful, proper credit is

Then Joey has the right to rewrite each and every section he sees fit:
it's his own time, so it's up to him to decide.
There's nothing wrong with that, even though it sounds unreasonable *if*
the only reason is reducing the size of the copyright notice.

Again: I'm *not* saying that this is the only reason, but, if it's not,
then the quickest fix *now* is adding proper credit, thus proving that
the Debian installer team has nothing against crediting contributions
that were judged valuable in the past.
Then Joey (or anyone else) has of course the right to rewrite from
scratch every piece he likes.

I hope I clarified my opinion: my concern is to avoid giving the
*impression* that "we accept external contributions, as long as we
incorporate them without giving proper credit or complying with their
license; as soon as someone complains, we drop them".

> I'm not sure that I see the entire situation, since a quick review
> shows the GPL on one side and "ad-hoc" on the other--the GPL isn't
> an ad-hoc license.

Karsten has already offered to relicense his document under the plain
GPL, so this point is moot.

> Karsten didn't make any real attempt to summarize
> the situation, though, instead dumping pages of past history on the
> list and expecting us to pull out a fine-toothed-comb, and I don't
> have the time or interest to do that.  I do know that I see Joey
> being reasonable, apologizing, and offering to help fix the problem,
> so I have zero tolerance for Karsten's demanding, who-do-you-think-
> you-are, you-can't-remove-my-work, fix-it-my-way-or-else, I'm-going-
> over-your-head attitude.

I think that Karsten's attitude is due to a bit of frustration after a
long time of little or no improvement on this issue.
Maybe he's been a bit rude, but at the end of the day, he's just asking
for what he deserves. The Debian installer team have been violating his
copyright for a long time and very little seems to have been done so far
to solve this issue...

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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