Re: * WARNING: Crypto software to be included into main Debian distribution
On Mon, 2002-03-04 at 03:09, email@example.com wrote:
> I don't know what the right list to bring this issue up is, so I
> write to all three lists to get to the right people.
> Here are my views on the crypto on main subject.
> I suppose there has been debate on this subject before on other
> debian lists, but as I'm not subscribed to more than 3 and have no
> idea on where/when it may have sprung...
> My view is that by including crypto on main, and dissapearing it
> from non-us, the silly regulations from the US goverment are imposed
> on the US emargoed countries in an anti ethical way for two reasons:
Actually, this has absolutely *nothing* to do with crypto. The trade
embargo is (at least for some countries) total, meaning that *nothing*
may be exported to those countries or imported from those countries.
Not "gcc". Not even "hello". NOTHING. NADA. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. So
the problem arises if you have (supposedly) Free Software on a public
Internet site and the United States involved in any way whatsoever.
The US embargo may be anti ethical, but it applies regardless.
> 1. Software in non-us was not developed inside the US
Not always. e.g. Kerberos and PGP were both developed inside the US,
legally exported and are now available outside the US and can be
imported back in. Kerberos is Free, PGP is not (replaced by GPG which
> and should not be restricted to 'export' into other countries.
It isn't. It just may not be exported FROM the US (and maybe other
countries; people who live in other countries need to be aware of the
local laws in their countries, and abide by them just as much as people
who live in the US need to be aware of the laws in the US and abide by
> 2. As I understand, the Free Software definition does not apply
> any sort of exception to US embargoed countries.
> So, either the Free Sofware definition gets reviewed and appends
> a clause stating that free software is 'free except in US embargoed
> countries', or Debian should stop saying it is Free software. Period.
Nothing in the Free Software definition (or the GPL) requires anyone to
violate local law in the process. The worst thing that happens (in the
case of irreconcilable contradiction) is that you may not distribute the
software at all. Nothing - I repeat, absolutely nothing, in either the
Free Software definition or the DFSG or any of the licenses involved,
requires me to distribute the software to *anyone*. It only states what
must happen *if* and when I do distribute the software. If local law
requires that I not distribute the software to certain persons, then I
am in violation of that law should I do so and I should rightly expect
to have the local law enforcement officials coming to bust my ass if I
break that law.
A friendly reminder that you should not break the law, and a few steps
to make sure that I do not break the law, does not make the software not
Free. Free Software does not mean "scofflaw" - if the developers of
Free Software really were scofflaws, then none of us would bother
writing Free Software at all - we'd just pirate proprietary software
instead ["we" in a very loose sense of the word, since my personal Free
Software contributions are still quite small]. But we don't, because
that would be a violation of copyright law.
> Restricting redistribution to a given country is in my opinion a blatant violation of the GPL which states that no further restrictions should be imposed on the software covered by it.
Actually, no. Read section 8 of the GPL, which explicitly *includes*
such a clause.
> There may be a third option which would be to move the main distribution servers of Debian outside the US (they are all within the US right now, aren't they?).
Nice idea in theory. Some of the folks I work with have a map which
shows worldwide backbone bandwidth. If you cut the US out, you cut out
something between 75% and 90% of world-wide Internet bandwidth;
furthermore, those servers are donated; you'd have to find equivalent,
also donated servers outside the US in order to do that. Servers and
bandwidth ain't cheap, but if you do find some, I'm sure the Debian
project would be pleased to accept. You'd also have to find developers
outside the US to replace all those inside the US, since (as others have
already observed) the act of uploading something to a site known to
export to an embargoed country could be interpreted as a knowing act of
export to that country, and therefore a chargeable offense under US
law. Your proposal would just make it more likely that all US
developers would have to quit, since every upload would be an export.
Center for Educational Outcomes at Dartmouth College