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Re: Why is firebird in Debian?

On Wednesday 25 July 2007 10:56:41 pm Walter Landry wrote:
> Sean Kellogg <skellogg@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Saturday 21 July 2007 07:30:32 am Mike Bird wrote:
> > > I note that you characterize trying to bring Debian into
> > > compliance with the law as being unproductive.
> >
> > Mr. Towns may not be saying that...  but I am.  I say that sitting
> > around thinking of all the billions of ways that Debian could possibly
> > be breaking the law in any of the thousands of jurisdictions on the
> > globe is a waste of time and energy.  Issues ought to be addressed as
> > they arise, not because someone is bored and looking to pick a fight.
> In that case, there is no point in worrying about most licensing at
> all.  The possibility that any one person is going to get in trouble
> for any particular software is so small that we might as well ignore
> it.  In particular, I am guessing that you would not have supported
> removing KDE from Debian back when Qt was not GPL'd.

I only know there was a dispute, I don't know the particulars so it's hard 
to say (before my time as a Debian user). Removing KDE turned out to be a 
pretty good route to go, in retrospect, since QT was eventually GPL'd. I'm 
sure there is an interesting story behind the whole episode.

> The problem is that we are then gambling with other people's money.
> Coupling that with the wide range of wacky things that copyright
> holders have done in the past makes me consider any decision more
> seriously.  Remember, for this code in particular, the copyright
> holder tried to take it back out of circulation.  Normally you might
> rely on the good will of the copyright holder to not enforce strange
> clauses in the license, but you can not make that assumption here.

I think earlier in my email I tried to distance myself from this particular 
license issue and be more general about the whole thing.  There may be 
excellent reasons in this particular case to worry about license issues, 
and certainly that the copyright holder stopped releasing the code under 
the GPL is a warning flag.  The question for those making the decisions is 
whether these sorts of considerations are enough to tip the scale towards 
changing the status quo...  because there is a cost in doing so, and thus 
an appropriate balance ought to be struck, not just a knee-jerk absolutest 


Sean Kellogg
e: skellogg@gmail.com
w: http://blog.probonogeek.org/

So, let go
 ...Jump in
  ...Oh well, what you waiting for?
   ...it's all right
    ...'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

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