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Re: Sun Java available from non-free

On Sat, May 20, 2006 at 04:18:44PM -0500, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Anyway, the background is that James Troup, Jeroen van Wolffelaar and
> myself examined the license before accepting it into non-free (which is
> three times the usual examination, and was done given the inability to
> examine the license in public), and both James and Jeroen had extensive
> contact with Sun to ensure that the tricky clauses were actually okay.

You won't expect Sun to say they are not, would you? :-)

> There are three factors that are particularly relevant: the first is
> Sun's intentions and ability and interest to work with us as a proxy
> for the broader free software community -- this is an important issue
> because it ensures that we can resolve any problems with the license,
> and reduces the concern that Sun will try to screw us over, as it would
> become a PR problem rather than just a quiet argument on the lists; the

This is true but you only need a license if anything goes wrong. So the
PR argument essantially is not a very good one.

> second is that both the legal principle of estoppel and the general common
> sense principle of not going back on your word if you want people to work
> with you prevents Sun from realistically saying "the FAQ is completely
> wrong and should be ignored"; and the third aspect, which is probably

I'm not sure. Would be interesting to hear a lawyer's meaning on this

> most important, is that should any of these problems actually happen,
> we can fairly simply just drop Sun Java from non-free if we can't come
> to a better conclusion.

Do you mean we can drop it if problems arise? Or do you mean we can drop
it if we cannot conlcude it's okay to distribute it?

I doubt you mean the first case, as it would be too late then. But if
you mean the second case, why just putting it in that quickly? Isn't it
the normal way to discuss things while the package is in NEW and not
after it made it into the archive?

> That's not to say the license issues aren't problems, they are, and I
> hope debian-legal will be able to work with Sun both on helping them
> improve their non-free license, and in the future, helping them work
> through their concerns in applying a free license to Java. Obviously the
> Sun and Java guys have different priorities to -legal, but that doesn't
> mean it's not worth working together to solve what problems can be.

Right, but again, why bringing the package with a bad license into the
archive first?

> Unfortunately the possibility of Sun Java being relicensed suitably for
> non-free wasn't mentioned to us in enough time to build up a relationship
> with -legal folks that wouldn't primarily involve telling the Sun guys
> how this wasn't going to work. Fortunately James and Jeroen have been
> able to build a reasonably effective relationship with the Sun folks
> involved in the time provided; hopefully now that it's public, -legal
> in general will have the time and opportunity to do likewise, in a more
> thorough and transparent way.

I wonder if we ever had another package or if anyone could imagine a
"normal" package being brought into non-free without discussions but
with a license that creates so many questions?

DPL, I wonder Why the Sun-Java package is not handled the same as any
other package. What makes it so special that it deserves special

Isn't this a discrimination against all other packages? :-)

Again, to all the Sun folks reading this, this is not against your
efforts that I like a lot. But the same PR effect could have been
reached by announcing that Sun and Debian jointly work on a way to
distribute Java instead of pushing it into the archive.


Michael Meskes
Email: Michael at Fam-Meskes dot De, Michael at Meskes dot (De|Com|Net|Org)
ICQ: 179140304, AIM/Yahoo: michaelmeskes, Jabber: meskes@jabber.org
Go SF 49ers! Go Rhein Fire! Use Debian GNU/Linux! Use PostgreSQL!

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