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Re: Sun Java available from non-free

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> [...]
> And people are welcome to hold that opinion and speak about it all they
> like, but the way Debian makes the actual call on whether a license
> is suitable for distribution in non-free isn't based on who shouts the
> loudest on a mailing list, it's on the views of the archive maintainers.

The package maintainer did not ask debian-legal (serious bug) and I'm
really surprised that the archive maintainers felt no need to consult
developers about this licence, in public or private, or SPI, before
agreeing to indemnify Sun so broadly.

I've not actively worked on this so far because:
1. I'm not up-to-date with the situation;
2. I've seen mention that others here are filing bug reports;
3. I don't use non-free anyway;
4. there's already working java in main; and
5. I think those responsible are personally at risk, not debian's property.

This seems another topic that the DPL is inflaming unnecessarily. It's
a shame voters didn't believe those who pointed out that #debian-tech
rules are a conflict-creation system, not a conflict-resolution one.

> Sun have made it very clear that they're trying to work with us on this
> for something that benefits our users, so that just leaves it to us
> to decide what's more important: taking a principled stand that we'll
> read every license literally and pedantically; or take advantage of
> other means by which we can be confident in distributing the software,
> and in so doing build a relationship with Sun that can be used later,
> and improve the experience of using Debian for people who need Sun Java?

I know that you are confident in distributing the software under those
terms, but it looks to me like most of -legal would have picked a third
way: keep negotiating and wait for terms in which they are confident.
I'd call that prudence and good practice, not pedantry or obstruction.

> [...] In this case, Sun have already
> gone to the effort of looking through Debian's procedures and started
> participating on the -legal list; -legal meanwhile have been obstructive
> in trying to tell Sun what their license means, even when that contradicts
> what Sun understands their license to mean as documented in their FAQ,
> and verified by their lawyers.

-legal seems to have believed what Sun says their license means, namely
   "It supersedes all prior or contemporaneous
    oral or written communications, proposals, representations and
    warranties and prevails over any conflicting or additional terms
    of any quote, order, acknowledgment, or other communication
    between the parties relating to its subject matter during the term
    of this Agreement."
So, I don't think any reasonable person would prefer Sun's FAQ or emails
when they aren't clearly explaining particular terms in an obvious way.
If someone seems to say both "X is entirely black" and "X is entirely
white" then one has to look for some way to decide, such as the above.

Is there even any dispute that the DLJ indemnity seeks to overturn all
the "no warranty" statements in debian and leave the licensee liable
for the effects of everything in our operating system?

> [...] One of the simplest
> objections is that the free software community just aren't an interesting
> market for Java people -- we don't want Java, so why spend effort giving
> it to us? [...]

That is a strawman AICM5P.  There's been java in main for some time now
and the packages show up quite well in popcon, so there seems to be some
java people interested in us and it seems to be wanted.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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