[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Bug#915541: Removal of upstream "--will-cite" functionality has been reverted

Hi Andreas, 

On Mon, Aug 30, 2021 at 08:25:29AM +0200, Andreas Tille wrote:
> Hi,
> since this issue becomes complex I'd like to bring up it at debian-legal
> list for advise.
> Kind regards
>      Andreas.

(usual disclaimer: IANAL. This below is only are few cents and thought on the
matter. Warning, personal opinions incoming!)

I don't think we've got a legal/license problem here... For sure (and upstream
author seems to ACK this, it seems we'd be allowed to have change as we
see fit.

I think this a "social" type problem, possiblry the upstream author
not really understanding what "GNU" and the Free Software Movements stands for?
Or ignoring the 4 Freedoms for own benefit? I had this impression when I read
this from the FAQ [1]:

> If the goal had been to get more users, then the license would have
> been public domain.

The FAQ itself seems to be crafted to somehow "disguise" that the citing is
optional. As a non-native English speaker, after reading the FAQ, I would have
though that this citing is indeed an requirement, not a request. It seems to
use morailty obligations as a base argument.

[1] https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/parallel.git/tree/doc/citation-notice-faq.txt

(For documentation, upstream says in #915541#72 that it is thought to be optional)

Is the FSF aware that upstream had registered "GNU PARALLEL" as trademark, on
his name?  (Though, it is listed as "abandoned", whatever this means. I guess
it is not valid anymore.) Is upstream aware that "GNU" is a registered

I think a pledge to cite is OK, but _requiring_ to run the programm with
certain command line options to so is in my books a click-wrap license, even if
the authors does claim otherwise, eg. in its FAQs: You need to do _some thing
explicitly_ that somehow makes you making a promise, maybe even a contract. So
it is natual, that someonoe is going to patch that out sooner or later -- if only
to avoid the annoyance  As said earlier, there is nothing in the license that
require us to keep the pledge, so upstream would be better off for their own
interest if the pledge is formulated in a way that noone actually want to go the
extra mail to remove the pledge.

Maybe carrying such a patch would NOT establish a fork (-- upstream has a
Rename (pledge / requirement) on forks in their FAQ; This could or could not
end up as effecitvly part of the license. If it is, sure, DFSG allows a
different name requirement, but it would certaintly be part of weight on the
overall judgment wether we should have the software in Debian at all.
However, source package name  is "parallel" "GNU parallel", so might we be
already ship it renamed... (Parallel alone would IMHO not be trademarkable, as
it is a common word and the parallel existed as tool already before GNU
parallel...) and removing GNU Parallel from the rest can be easily done, if
upstream prefers that.

In my experience its not good to do against the wish of an upstream author.
That does not mean that we should follow his request either.

My 2 cents: Possibly this GNU parallel should not be part of Debian, due to the
bitter taste this discussion leaves, but it has reverse dependcies, so not
really an option.

I dont think that shipping the software in non-free would service Debian and its
users as well: We'd still have to track down all reverse (build-) depdencies (if
and worst case put them to contrib, if patching is not possible.

So I guess I'd just patch and if upstream complains rename the project from
"GNU parallel" to just "parallel". Possibly somewhere is a fork already, didnt
check. Then switching to this fork would be an option as well.

Regarding the arguments upstream brings about the DFSG. Instead of rebuting them
individually  let me just quote some sentences of DSFG FAQ:

> "The process involves human judgement. The DFSG is an attempt to articulate our
> criteria. But the DFSG is not a contract. This means that if you think you've
> found a loophole in the DFSG then you don't quite understand how this works."

> On Mon, Aug 30, 2021 at 08:08:26AM +0200, Ole Tange wrote:
> > Ian Turner <vectro@vectro.org> wrote:
> > > On 8/28/21 7:41 AM, Andreas Tille wrote:
> > 
> > If the revised wording (from version 20141022 to version 20210722)
> > does not change your opinion, I feel the only compromise that is
> > acceptable to all the active parties is to keep the citation notice
> > even if this means moving the software from main to non-free.

I dont think that is an acceptable "compromise to all the active parties", as
it seems to leave out the interests of our users. #884793.

IMHO a compromise could be to the citation "request" in the documentation,
like the example given in the DFSG FAQ. Remove the urge that people want
to patch something out and it won't.



Reply to: