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Re: Anti-TPM clauses

On Wed, 12 Sep 2007 12:36:49 +0200 Olive wrote:

> >>
> >> You seem to imply that a conscientious decision is by definition
> >> based on correct reasoning and equally correct conclusions.
> >> As if FTP masters could only be wrong when they press the wrong key
> >> on their keyboard by mistake.
> >> As far as I know, FTP masters are human beings and can therefore
> >> make mistakes: both in pressing keys *and* in analyzing packages
> >> from a DFSG-freeness point of view.
> You seems to think that they an absolute "transcendental" property of 
> "free" that have to be discovered. Debian is a community that consider
> some works free and other works non-free. They have written guidelines
> to help to decide where to class a given license but these are only 
> guidelines not something absolute and the final answer has yet to be 
> decided.
> Debian has set rules to decide who precisely is entitled to class a 
> given license. As long a given license has been accepted as free 
> following the rules; then it means that is considered free by Debian; 
> the criterion for admissibility in main. If the ftp masters have
> decided  that a license is free; then indeed it is the decision of
> Debian. If  still contentious; this decision can be reverted by a
> vote.

Firstoff, please note that *packages* are accepted in main or otherwise
*Packages*, not *licenses*.

Secondly, there seems to be some catch-22 situation in your reasoning.
FTP masters (unless overridden by GR) decide what is accepted in main:
this seems to be actually the case.
FTP masters are Debian Developers, and thus have promised to abide by
the Debian Social Contract[1].
This document states, in part:

| We promise that the Debian system and all its components will be free
| according to these guidelines

Now, you seem to claim that what is conscientiously accepted in main by
FTP masters is, by definition, free according to the DFSG.
If this were true, well, the Debian Project would be always *trivially*
and *automatically* abiding by the above-quoted part of the SC,
whatever is done by FTP masters.
According to this view, if tomorrow one FTP master goes mad and accepts
MS Internet Explorer in main, everything is fine, because what has been
accepted in main is by definition DFSG-free...

This does not sound logical.
Suppose that I state: "I promise to always say the truth, but whatever I
say is true by definition".  Would you think I actually made a promise?

[1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract

> It can be that you do not understand how this decision follow the DFSG
> but it simply means that your reading of the DFSG is different from
> the  one of the ftp masters.

Sure.  That is indeed what I maintain.
The fact is that I don't buy that the FTP masters' reading of the DFSG
should be considered as "correct" by definition.
We, debian-legal regulars, are human beings and can make mistakes, but
the same holds for FTP masters.  Unfortunately, without any explanation
from FTP masters, there's no way we can even understand the origin of
our disagreements on some issues, let alone come to agree again (with
one of the two sides changing opinion).

> There is not an "absolute" coorect
> reading of  the DFSG; but in this case; following the rule of Debian;
> it is the  reading of the ftp masters that is by definition the good
> one (or the  one of the people voting).

Here is the point where we disagree.
FTP masters (unless overridden by GR) have indeed the power to decide,
but they do *not* have the power to have their decisions considered
*correct* by definition.
I believe I still have the right to express my opinion and say that I
think a given decision taken by an FTP master is a mistake.

> I think there is a derive in this list. Participants seems to thinks 
> that they are the members of a jury who have to decide whether a given
> work is "free". But the participants here are not entitled to take 
> decisions; the purpose of this list is just to discuss license, not to
> decide.

I'm aware that this list works as an advisory board, where freeness and
legal issues are publicly discussed in order to give FTP masters (and
others in charge) enough data and arguments to take an informed
The problem is: when the consensus view of the advisory board seems to
be too often ignored and disregarded without explanation by decision
makers, well, the advisory board begins to feel useless and tries (at
least) to get some feedback from decision makers.  Lack of communication
is really frustrating.

> I vehemently object about people speaking of a "consensus" on 
> this list about a license being non free. A license being non free is
> a  license who is not considered free by the Debian as an
> organization; it  has nothing to do with the opinions of people
> posting on this list. We  just see a small group of people who try to
> take powers that they have not.

I'm not trying to gain any powers.
I think that the Debian Project is too important, and hence I don't want
to just say "I don't care".  I feel the Project is failing to abide by
its SC and thus I'm trying to persuade people that there's something to
be fixed.

> For the moment, CC-v3.0 has been accepted following the rules for many
> packages.

I managed to find some 3 or 4 packages in main including works licensed
under some CC-v3.0 terms.
Can you point out other ones?

> You can say that you do not agree in the sense that you
> would  *like* this license to be rejected; that's your opinion.

It is indeed my opinion, and of some other debian-legal regulars.

> But if
> someone  ask if this license is acceptable for main he does not ask
> your opinion,  nor the opinion of the members participating in Debian
> legal; he asks  the opinion of Debian as an organisation believing
> (often wrongly) that  people here will be able to answer.

If someone wants to learn the opinion of FTP masters, he/she should ask
them (good luck in getting a detailed reply...).
If someone asks debian-legal subscribers, what he/she will get is, well,
the opinion of debian-legal subscribers...
My telepathy device is broken: I cannot read the minds of FTP masters,
and hence I cannot learn their opinion, as long as they do not speak.
I can point out what the Debian Project seems to be doing with works
licensed in a given manner, but I cannot do much more.

BTW, I don't think I failed to characterize my view on CC-v3.0 as my own
The two main messages where I recently expressed my take on this subject
In one of the two I explicitly added my (often used) disclaimers:
In the other, I said:
"I agree with you that CC-v3.0 licensed works should *not* enter main"
and, immediately after, I explicitly acknowledged that FTP masters seem
to disagree.

> The only
> answer for now for CC-v3.0  is "yes" because that have already been
> decided for other other  packages. Expressing his opinions and let
> people who asks a question  think that one speaks in the name of or
> gives the opinions of Debian is  simply dishonest. When reading answer
> to questions; I very often have  this feeling.

As I said, when I reply, I always try to do my best to explicitly
clarify which are my own opinions, which are (perceived) opinions of
other people, and which are factual statements.
I apologize for any case where I failed to make this explicit and clear


 Need to read a Debian testing installation walk-through?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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