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Re: Desert island test

Sean Kellogg <skellogg@gmail.com> wrote: [...]
> The provision that I must post changes does not restrict ones ability to sell 
> or give away the software, it simply imposes a constraint. This constraint is 
> in no way different than the constrain imposed by the GPL that source code 
> must accompany the binary.

I disagree strongly with 'in no way different'.  There are many ways in which
it is different, which should be obvious even to the PP.  Total hyperbole.
For example, it links two unrelated actions (change and publish), rather
than specifying the manner of one action (distribute).

> Allow me to propose my own convenient test, which 
> I refer to as the "Bloody Murderer Test":
> While walking down the street, you are accosted by a a deranged lunatic 
> hell-bent on the destruction of the Free Software Foundation with particular 
> emphasis on undermining the GPL. He tells you that if you distribute any code 
> licensed under the GPL with the corresponding source code, he will hunt you 
> down and kill you in cold blood.

In that case and if the lunatic is truthful, no software under the GPL is free
for 'you'.  However, that's the fault of the lunatic and not the software or
its licence.  IMO the correct bugfix is to cancel out the lunatic.

The same problem could appear in a less extreme circumstance if the GPL is
prohibited in a sufficiently general way.  Exactly what is 'sufficiently
general' is unknown to me, but it might be a similar question to the software
patent or child protection ones which debian occasionally faces.  There's not
a great way to answer those questions yet AFAIK.

> If we follow the logic of the Desert Island test (or the even more fun 
> Dissident test), we plainly see that the GPL fails the Bloody Murderer Test. 
> Or, we can say, the license isn't what is dictating the distributability 
> (probably not an actual word...), but rather, it is the individuals situation 
> that is doing the dictating. I, for one, don't believe debian should be in 
> the business of ensuring every license covers every possible scenario a 
> debian user might possibly, some day, find themselves in.

Isolated hacking isn't a "possible scenario a debian user might possibly,
some day, find themselves in", is it?  Again, the argument seems to have
left reality behind and descended into hyperbole and extremism.

Ultimately, is "hacking on a desert island" (or other inaccessible place)
an activity debian's terms mustn't discriminate against?  I believe so.

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

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