[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

Romain d'Alverny rdalverny at gmail.com
Fri Dec 10 19:37:38 CET 2010

On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 19:14, Wolfgang Bornath <molch.b at googlemail.com> wrote:
> 2010/12/10 Romain d'Alverny <rdalverny at gmail.com>:
>> Ok, but you still take into account SP in your answer. :-p (we would
>> have come to that, but the idea was to think about it from a naïve,
>> software-patent-free perspective).
> If there were no software patents anywhere what would be the issue of
> this discussion?
> IMHO it makes no sense to discuss something which does not exist

It does. Because it helps looking at a problem from a totally
different perspective, build from that, and see the
missing/conflicting pieces when you look back at the full problem (or
as you used to look at it before). Which conflicting/missing pieces
may not be the ones one thought they were.

> I see the strategy in your proposition but:
> 1. We know from the start that there ARE packages with software which
> is patented in some countries. So, the "let's start empty and see what
> comes up" is already done with.

Are there issues with it? (looking at my previous check-list, maybe to
improve). If so, yes, let's fill this up. If not, let's leave it alone
in the core.

I mean, what difference does it make with PLF repositories that are
already mirrored? what differences does it make with Debian stuff that
is already mirrored? do they get cease & desist? do we hear about

> 2. In some countries mirror maintainers can not wait until somebody
> raises his hand, there are lawyers who write nice "cease and desist"
> letters, attached is a bill you have to pay. In Germany this is called
> "Kostenpflichtige Abmahnung"  and has grown to a habit of some
> lawyers.

Then in these cases, two options:
 - just do not mirror; and people use mirrors on the borders;
 - Mageia (or some related entity) provides legal services about this
(taking responsibility for the hosting or other).

Why "just do not mirror"? Because, taking the strict statu-quo point
of view regarding the software patent thing, that is "just follow the
most restrictive set of rules", we won't be able to cope with just
medias to separate patented software from non-patented sw. It will be
a matter of tags, because the situation is different from territory to
territory. And there are more than two for that matter.

> Meaning: you can't wait and see what happens, you have to make sure
> that it does not happen from the start.

We can't be sure at all of anything. That's why that's to take a
risk-management attitude, provided what we want to achieve, what
stance we want to take.

> I mean, opinions about software patents set aside for a minute,
> software patents are protected by official law in those countries. You
> can not break the law on the basis of "let's see what happens".

Many do. Not only for software, but for everything. For many reasons,
among which can be: the law is broken, the law is becoming obsolete,
people do not enforce it, the law should be changed, etc.

Well, actually, there are two options: break the law/try it as it is.
Or follow it strictly to demonstrate its absurdity. What I propose
here is a middle-ground some other projects already take.

With the reasonable attitude to manage cases that _are precisely
identified_ (so we avoid reports such as "this piece of software is
likely to be patented"; point needed is: is it? or not? how, why, by
who, is it valid, is it free, is it enforced, are we noticeable/a
target, does it matter given our size?

As said before, regarding law on software patents, the situation today
is, that's a battlefield anyway. Although the situation in EU should
be clear (no SP), it's not (as many other things at the moment too,

That's a proposal. It has shortcomings too of course; what I find
interesting in this is that:
 - it makes Mageia put a few steps into the software patents debate
(instead of only trying to cope with an inconsistent, unpracticable
set of rules that we mostly even don't find legitimate at the very
 - it may reveal to be less of a burden than we currently think; it
may be worse; either case, we can adapt from a situation we will have

Now, that's nothing more than a proposal. :-p


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