To contact me, email mjr AT dsl dot pipex dot com.
To contact me, email mjr AT dsl dot pipex dot com.
...or at least, not any d-l contributor's fault any more than anyone who reports RC bugs. If an RC bug holds up release, it is arguably whoever created the bug that "fucks up" debian's release, not the reporter. That's true whether it's non-free, some other policy violation or some other grave data loss bug. Don't shoot the messenger. Fix the bug.
We're not "RMS groupies" (in fact, that's so wrong for me as to be almost funny). It's not a bloody crusade, either. It is depressing that some developers have so much contempt for those who usually knew a bit about copyright beforehand (from journalism, in my case) and tried to learn enough about the special issues involved with software to offer what I suspect is probably the biggest public-archived copyright consultation service. If some of the contributors are starting to feel under siege, why not walk through the gates to help reduce the divide? (Were you going to say "because I've no time and other important work"? Big news: neither has anyone else, yet there is still time and priority to fire unhelpful flames towards us?)
If done wrong, licence trouble can be deadly for debian. Why don't debian-legal people just shut up shop, sod off home and wait for the next "agressive enough" rights-holder to kill debian? Because we care about it too, you know. We want there to be debian releases for a long time to come.
Why don't Fedora and Gentoo have this trouble? Well, Fedora doesn't make any promise about free software (AFAIK) and I think Gentoo's promise is inadequate because it only covers a very small part of the distribution and they reckon including ebuilds for non-free is fine. It's very hard to avoid getting non-free software automatically installed on Gentoo without checking every licence yourself. Not fun.
The MPL hiccough isn't really a surprise and I'll not be completely surprised to find that either d-l or Mozilla have something a bit wrong. The MPL seems a pretty old licence and seems to have avoided much public scrutiny until now, as I said. It's going to take some more thinking about. For Mozilla itself, they've already started dual-licensing, so it probably won't result in removing that from the distribution, but there are other MPL-covered works. Really, I think it's a shame that such a poster-child for OSI has such a convoluted licence and that it is used by some people when simpler licences would be better.
The whole sarge release vs social contract deathmatch farce took me a bit by surprise. It's the largest single reason why I am quieter in debian than before. I probably did more work for/with/towards debian in the year before starting NM (which took nearly a year IIRC) than since. The FDL crap and the non-free logo are the next two largest, so I guess you can tell I've been on debian-legal...
I'm amazed by the sheer amount of politicking that goes on and quite depressed by that. I am amazed that there are debian developers who claim they don't know what the word software means, didn't understand or don't agree with what they agreed to follow (yes, I know some joined pre-SC, but still there are others) and feel that debian should change to fit their views. For now, I'll vote when asked, and likely flame people who screw up stuff I'm trying to work on (some of which is involved with the MPL posts here), but generally try to avoid the politicking.
The whole kernel source firmware thing is puzzling and ripping firmware out of debian sources is one solution, but definitely not the best. I don't know whether any better is possible, as I'm not really part of that work. Blaming "debian-legal" and trying to stop people regarding it as a bug doesn't seem a solution, though. If it's not a bug, explain why and close it properly. Enough people seem to think it is a bug to need some sort of explanation to avoid getting it rereported and escalated a long way. If someone has been moving it, presumably a package maintainer, maybe they think there is a problem too?
Jordi, I realise that people don't know about the constitution enough. I wanted to find it and link it so that we could all read it and make our own minds up. Our politicians and mainstream media are not good enough to publicise it and do this discussion themselves. Read it, discuss it and link interesting bits (because it's not a wonderful html copy, so a bit awkward to search). Don't just dismiss it because you didn't hear about it before. Don't just berate it without reading it. That's FUD and no-one will thank you for it.
The language list has already been mentioned twice. I don't worry for myself, as my native language is included, but I wondered: is it worse than what is already there? At the moment, the EU has 11 languages, according to EUROPA's FAQ. The constitution lists 22, including adding Irish from the pre-accession states. So, it appears to increase the range. Maybe not ideal, but an improvement. Why so hostile?
There seems to be another draft online. I'll use the other for now, because it's easier to link. I just hope it's kept up-to-date.
Marco d'Itri feels he has not misrepresented debian-legal. He represented an ongoing discussion as a decision. If that is not misrepresentation, I don't know what is. Marco, the reason you can't see the discussion now is that a lot of it (and definitely my parts) are happening off-list for a bit, because of idiots like you that won't participate and start claiming a decision has happened while we're still trying to talk about it. The only way to progress seems to develop it in private for a short while and then take it back to the list. Rest assured, I will still object to a new draft summary before the discussion ends as premature.
You don't want to help debian-legal, so get the hell out of my face and don't hinder it. Absurdly, you are doing more than anyone to make things you criticise happen!
And firmware in non-free is not my preferred position. There are concessions involved. That even passes as a compromise in the definition from the non-English dictionary you linked.
I request help from the blogoscenti! I want to replace the infamous formmail.pl from someone's site. Should I:
Send answer in a blog on a planet I'm on, email to mjr at dsl.pipex.com, jabber to slef at jabber.at or IRC to slef on oftc (via memoserv if needed), please. I'll credit replies unless told otherwise.
Here are the answers of the questions I asked to mark Apple's iTunes launch in France, Germany and the UK.
I apologise in advance for this rant, but I think it needs writing here, else people will keep making the same mistakes about debian-legal:
That's very misleading. I suspect he's trying the "CD=CD" trick: describe current discussions as completed decisions.
As you can see from the thread length, this discussion still continues and there are many questions, both about the MPL and about people's views of the DFSG. He has previously whined about "armchair lawyers of debian-legal" (but he doesn't link to the opinions of the other lawyers he refers to: do we know those opinions exist in fixed form?). He complains there is a problem, but does not help to fix it. Instead, he tries to FUD debian-legal through his blog.
Don't worry, folks! debian-legal appears relatively sane just now. What actually happened is Jim Marhaus posted a draft summary. I'm not sure why or who asked for it, but I think the number of replies shows that it's not finished yet.
Even so, the MPL does seem to have serious flaws and I don't understand how they sit with the DFSG. The usual tricks of looking it up at FSF and searching for the lawyer-written analysis sent with the OSI approval request doesn't work. MPL isn't explained in detail by FSF. MPL doesn't seem to have had an analysis submitted to OSI. The annotated licence doesn't address the questions raised at all.
Yes, we are well aware that this will affect Firebird and AOLserver, as well as BrickOS, OpenH323, Bugzilla, MPEG4IP and possibly even Mozilla. That's all been posted to debian-legal. I think it's misleading to point it out in a blog post as if it's some new info you're just publishing. We know it and, personally, my view of the MPL will not be formed lightly. My view of the FDL wasn't.
If you think "that there is something very wrong in what has been happening recently on debian-legal" then please, come enclue us. Start with explaining why the MPL is a DFSG-free software licence *and* distributable by debian, despite:
Personally, I'm not sure whether all of these are DFSG problems yet, but they seem reasonable questions to ask. I fear that debian-legal list has recently achieved a critical mass of copyright old hands and is spotting real problems that developers previously missed. Painful as it might be, that's good: copyright will not ignore debian even if debian ignores copyright.
(Please do not just come on and flame everyone who disagrees with you, as seems to happen periodically over FDL or the kernel. Explaining to the majority is a good thing here, to get consensus whether this is free, which should be an MPL-advocate's aim. Please keep an open mind too, as it might be that you get something wrong one day.)
And finally: non-free firmware in non-free is a compromise. Non-free firmware in debian is breaking a promise. (I'm not saying there is or isn't such firmware in debian... I've not checked just now.)
Apparently, the President of Brazil's IT Institute, Sergio Amadeu, stated in an interview that the Microsoft "the first shot is free" licensing policy resembled a drug dealer sales plan. Now Microsoft are suing him over it.
I don't know all the details. Read more in Portuguese on the CIPSGA site. I'd appreciate links to translations into Eo, En, Fr or De, as my Pt is terrible.
Welcome to Wednesday's Oddments. Spotted this morning:
To mark Apple's iTunes launch in France, Germany and the UK, here are some questions. Answers later, or email/blog your guesses.
A BBC reply told me that all UK digital satellite viewers for whom these services are intended have access to the proprietary OpenTV/Sky digital text system.
Meanwhile, the BBC's own dsat FAQ says "you can choose from many types of satellite equipment from different retailers and manufacturers. Only the Sky "digiboxes" can access the "digital text" or the full EPG. This reduces competition for dsat systems and limits the usefulness of standards-based GNU/Linux Personal Video Recorders (PVRs).
Please do this: If you live in the UK, please let the DCMS consultation know that you think BBC should
You must do this by Friday 11 June. Thanks if you do. I'm quite tired now, after this and the MEP elections. I'm going to sleep for a few weeks now. Bye!
I was wondering about the Liberal Democrats, if you read my previous post. I've been looking in more detail. The "Copyright Etc. and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Bill " was proposed by the Lib Dems and it became law in November 2002.
This beauty increased copyright enforcement measures to the level of trademark ones. Yet again, harmonisation in one direction: towards harsher penalties!
I guess I got my answer about them. Good on swpat for now, but scary on copyright.
Another day, another load of data to post about the MEP elections. I'll do one more edit today, then I think that's it, unless I get a lot of data or some time early tomorrow morning. It's over to the rest of you in the UK. Read this, understand it, add other data, explain it to everyone you can, then go vote.
Editorialising: if you are opposed to software patents or further copyright enforcement laws, it looks like this:
If anyone knows where to find the Critérium 2004 race on free-to-air satellite TV or radio, please let me know.
OK, I know debian-legal has been thorny for a long time, but today I had my first taste of the traditional usenet tactics of "invent words to argue with" and "the discussion is over" from someone who seems to have decided their view before asking the list. It wouldn't be so bad, but I am almost certain that their view is bananas.
Firstly, they think the original copyright holder noting it "also retains copyright to derivative works of the Source Code, whether created by [holder] or by a third party" is trying to deny copyright interests of other authors of a derived work. It's not: both original and deriving authors could have copyright to the work. (Generally, it has to be a cross some threshold to be worth copyright. There are different views on what the threshold is...)
Secondly, their only intended act seems to be to repeat on debian-legal until someone else gets the licence author to clarify it. Two people telling them it doesn't deny copyright of others and two (different IIRC) people telling them it isn't a copyright assignment isn't enough, it seems.
How can you reach consensus if some participants have dug into a really unacceptable position before the start? Carpet-bombing them out of it seems the only way, but I don't think I've the stomach. I'll probably just wait now and laugh extremely hard at them later. Hopefully people will start thinking a bit more and actually go read a copyright primer. Many governments put them online now, so there's little excuse for fundamental errors.
I wasn't going to write an item today, but then I read this message from Martyn. I don't get angry easily since about 15 years ago, but that makes me want to go attack some people. Fortunately, I'm well over 100 miles away from Kingston.
There are some things you just don't send out automated mailshots for. Maternity care has got to be one of them. There's just too much that can go wrong quickly and it's quite traumatic enough, without getting junk mail that assumes all is well. What idiot computer programmer sold them that system?
Marco d'Itri seems a good example of what Manoj wrote about. In one entry, he seems to write that refusing to distribute proprietary software in main is somehow bad for debian, rather than what debian is. Then, later he writes that those who agree with the debian Social Contract clauses 1, 3, 4 and 5, so think non-free should be put in non-free, are ones who "screw our users". WTF? Surely it would be worse to decieve our users by labelling non-free things as free?
Really, it seems obvious what the compromise is. If he wants non-free binaries distributed, then put them into non-free. It's quite an established compromise, even if irritating. That's still a compromise, because it means that an installer which sometimes writes non-free source lines would have to return. That's something I won't be happy about, but it seems necessary in order to kill this problem. It also entrenches non-free further.
So why not do that? What is the problem here? It seems to me the problem is that Marco and friends like the flames. :-( Maybe I'm just stood too far away.
Released a first beta of koha-2.0.1, which I've not even tested myself yet. This will be the first arch'd release. I've appealed for mirrors, as I'm just using my ISP web space for downloads now and that isn't infinite capacity, I'm sure.
Uploaded a first draft of a koha English homepage. I think I've killed the worst of the MSIE-bugs in it, but I don't use that browser myself, so I'm interested to hear about problems if you use it or something else. The validators are happy with my page, so at least it should be visible still.
The presentations from the AFFS Annual Conference have been linked from the schedule (table part way down page), as far as I have them. The fileshare has been deactivated. The mailing list has been removed. The project to organise it has been removed from the AFFS task list.
I can't remember the last time a free software project I worked on ended, instead of just peter out and die. Am I unusual? It's a lovely feeling and a time for reflection.
But not too much. Other projects like eurovote need more help.
My name just appeared incorrectly on the minutes of an SPI meeting. Apprently, my preferred name was deemed not an "official name" despite it being on my credit cards and even obvious from my passport.
So, instead of asking/warning me, SPI just replaced it with my name from db.debian.org and for some reason, that is corrupt. How? I surely never told debian that corruption of my name. My name is correct on my AM report. My name is correct on my NM entry. My name is wrong on my DD account. So, who broke my name? Worse, it seems that I am not trusted to edit my DD account's name and have to politely request debian corrects it! I hope they fix it soon.
I wonder if anyone will apologise for this? I am always so careful to use people's names as they give them. I find it quite offensive when people break my name. At the moment, all this feels like "we don't care about people," a little for debian (who seem to accept the form I give in most things, like package uploads) and a lot for SPI.
Someone emailed me questioning the non-freeness of the CC licences. Here's the example I sent them back:
An autobiography is published. Parts of this are then combined by someone else into a larger work about the history some project or other. Do you agree that those parts taken from the autobiography are still covered by the CC licence?
If so, if the author of the autobiography requests it, you would have to remove references to them from the project history, even if the project history was totally accurate and removing references to them makes it inaccurate, because that is a term of the CC licence. Do you agree that a licence which requires you to "break" on demand a later work based on it is not a free software licence?
It's a similar problem to the termination clause problems, I believe.
Remember, one example doesn't make the whole proof, but I think this is a useful example.
There's a transcript and ogg of an RMS interview in Edinburgh on 27 May 2004 available. Verbatim copying only, of course. *sigh*
Update: There also seems to be factually-dubious anti-commercial crap in the questions too. *double-sigh*
The BBC reports that Zimbabwe may introduce email controls. Does the BBC reporter really not know that the UK already has an email snoopers' charter? Please clue them
The Creative Commons 2.0 licences are out there, but still look non-free.
At the end of 4a (Restrictions), even the "by" licence requires you to "remove from the Collective Work any reference to such Licensor or the Original Author" if requested. As described on debian-legal, that far exceeds anything moral rights permits and makes the licence non-free.
What else changed?
The last of these is an improvement. I think the others are questionable.
Until they make it DFSG-free, don't use CC!
Had interesting email exchange about swpat with a reporter, mainly because of eurovote I think. Sadly, it seems that the reporters are believing McCarthy's line that opponents of this directive are habitual naysayers and that the directive is just harmonising the current situation.
"Harmonisation" is a fancy name for changing some national laws to be sure they match. Unfortunately, the proposed patent "harmonisation" is to the practice of some patent offices, rather than to the law of any nation. English law explicitly excludes mathematical methods from patenting. Programs are instructions to an electronic computer, so are mathematical methods. Don't let anyone tell you that the proposed directive can't change that. More importantly, don't let them change that. Vote accordingly on 10-13 June. Watch eurovote for information to help you decide.
I find that I'm more productive when in a tidy environment, like hippygeek. Sadly, I move from one task to the next fairly fast and leave material for interrupted tasks lying around my work space. Is there a fix for this? I don't know.
I can't spell godlyness(?) yet this morning. Oh well, it's a blog not a spelling lesson.
So, the mt spam arms race continues, says Andrew. Some people think I am nuts to write my own blogging code, but at least it means that I'm unlikely to have this problem. Well, that and not having any comments forms. Wonder if I'll start getting trackback spam when I enable that?
By the way, it so should have been won by the football boot, but then I would say that. I really like people who change careers successfully. Even Gordon Ramsey, although that ITV1 show is horrible horrible evil bad and wrong.
Posted in response to Steve looking for car insurance.
I have had trackback ping-sending working for a while. Must enable the receipt.
Martyn writes "It makes you wish that the NHS was simply abolished and everybody had to pay". While I can understand his rage in this case, stupid statements like that really upset me. We already all pay for the health service, nominally through NI, but really through NI and tax in general. If everybody had to pay at the point of delivery, I may well be dead by now.
As the old software statement goes, fix don't fork. Complain and keep chasing it in a useful way, further and further up the chain, until they look at this and explain it. Ideally, until they fix it. Martyn is one of the most effective complainers about IT things that I've seen. Why not use that skill to improve the NHS? I'll buy him a drink if he does...
No idea how long it will last, but you can have my European Satellite TV Picks if you want. Email me if you want me to add RSS. I'm off to watch cycling and get a drink.
Matthew Garrett's Mono accusations would be funny if they weren't so worrying.
I need to add Atom support to Mabloss because the 2rss converter someone is using keeps adding adverts to schcyroll planets.
I've had some data sent in for euroVote to use, but no time yet to even unpack it. Urgh. Hopefully, I have two talks to give about this in the next week, so I hope they'll bring more help.
I'm leaning towards keeping using the towers domain now, because it fits in better with my work (turo) and where I live (which has many towers rising out of the flat landscape) than otherwayup.
Busy day at work yesterday. Need to do some overdue preventative sysadmin work to stop it happening again. A customer suddenly started eating disk at 30Mb per hour, which was too fast for the monitors and quota manager to catch, so the partition filled and then the fs corrupted when trying to resize. Thank the fates I took a backup before trying the resize...
Something seems wrong today. Email took less than 10 minutes this morning. Reading web sites took less than 10. Has everyone died or something?
Well, AFFSAC and the AGM came and went. I think the conference went well and we've already had some praise. I'm less convinced that the AGM went well. My memory is hazy, as I think I was sat in the sun for too long, but I think I have some explaining to do. I'll do that on fsfe-uk soon. Other things (accounts, memberships, projects) should come first.
I published some email tips because Sven Guckes's site keeps vanishing. I still need to decide what I should do about my domains and web sites. I just renewed otherwayup, but towers fits in better with my other uses. It needs tidying up, though. What to do, what to do?
Just discovered that AquaPlus water filter jugs do not take universal filter cartridges, although they claim their cartridges work in other universal filter jugs, which they do, but they're crap and drop bits everywhere. I'm not being limited to only AquaPlus filters, so that's getting junked and replaced.
Did this today. Let's see if it works on syndicated sites: I won't be at all surprised if that doesn't come out. You can see them in the bottom left of the page holding this blog on my site. I made them to reduce the download size of a page, among many other tricks.
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