Re: Anti-TPM clauses
Francesco Poli wrote:
On Wed, 12 Sep 2007 12:36:49 +0200 Olive wrote:
You seems to think that they an absolute "transcendental" property of
"free" that have to be discovered. Debian is a community that consider
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.
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
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
Firstoff, please note that *packages* are accepted in main or otherwise
*Packages*, not *licenses*.
OK, but packages are accepted according to their license; when I say
that Debian accept a license I mean that it accept packages under this
license. This seems clear, is it not?
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.
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?
If a mad ftp master would decide to include IE; his decision will very
rapidly be reverted by other ftp master I think. If the community feels
that Debian do not respect his engagement; there is the possibility of a
vote. In the unlikely case that the vote would confirm that IE is indeed
free then it could be called Debian-free. The social contract is a
contract between Debian and the free software community; as long as both
party agrees with an interpretation (even a very strange
interpretation); there is no violation. Debian have judged that members
entitled to vote are representatives of the free software community.
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.
Firstly, there are not really correct by definition since they can be
overrided by a vote. But there is no reading that is correct in
absoluteness and to discuss if a packages is free in absolute make no
sense. What make sense is what Debian considers free and as long as the
decision is taken according to rules we can say that Debian considers it
free. We can disagree in the sense that we would like Debian have made
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
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.
But debian legal is not an entitled "advisory board". It is a freely
open list to discuss license. The ftp masters cannot tell anyone why a
given decision is taken; just the same way a developer cannot tell
anyone how to use his software. If you want to learn something about
Debian; technically or juridically you have to learn it on yourself.
Participating on Debian legal does not give anymore rights than to the
millions of users of Debian.
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
But the problem is that you feel that you are a member of some advisory
board (which is not a "jury" as I have told in other messages but is
nevertheless close to) and that Debian have counts or explanations to
give to this advisory board. A person participating in debian-user (the
technical mailing list) cannot expect that the developer of a software
he uses will answer all his questions; it is the same for members
participating in debian legal.
Now to understand the motivations for CC-v3.0 accepted as free is not
really difficult as these motivations have also be posted to this list;
briefly that it is in spirit the same as GPL. My guess is that the ftp
masters have the same opinion. But stop do not tell me that you do not
agree; I know it. But I think it should be possible to understand a
motivation even if we do not share it.
For the moment, CC-v3.0 has been accepted following the rules for many
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?
It is already enough.
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.
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.
I do not agree with this; a person who packages a software asking for an
advice want to have the opinion of Debian. Even when we do not agree
with this opinion; it can be possible to tell it. Not in all case but if
there are already previous packages accepted; the case becomes more clear.
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:
IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, TINASOTODP.
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
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
I must confess you that the answer having me really angry might not be
your. I was particularly angry by reading a message like this:
where he seems to say that a consensus of Debian legal might have more
value that the one expressed by the people officially entitled to do so.
That really let think that debian-legal would be entitled to decide what
is free according to Debian. I have read other messages of the same kind.