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Re: Why is firebird in Debian?

Sean Kellogg <skellogg@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wednesday 25 July 2007 10:56:41 pm Walter Landry wrote:
> > 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 
> reaction.

Unfortunately, a lot of these risk factors do not reveal themselves
until it is too late.  This is not the only time that a copyright
holder has tried to unrelease their code.  The sensible thing to do is
to ask what would happen if all of the copyright holders tried to do
that.  That kind of inquiry is the source of what onlookers like to
call the paranoia that inhabits debian-legal.

What is remarkable is that, even with this paranoia, there are plenty
of packages in Debian.  Debian does not have to compromise its
principles to get a database.  There are many alternatives.  You speak
of a cost in changing the status quo.  The cost is minimal.

Walter Landry

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