[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr. ewilcox at bex.net
Thu Dec 16 10:47:07 CET 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 02:44:21AM -0500, Ernest N. Wilcox Jr. wrote:
| >Consideration of software patents and copyrights does not constitute  |  |  
| implicit 
 | >support for them. It does however constitute explicit support for  |  | 
obediance of 
 | >the law. Like it or not, patent and copyright laws do exist in some  | 
 | >(especially the U.S.A. - my home), and it is our responsibility to take 
 | >laws into considertion (whether we want to or not). Laws can not be 
changed by 
 | >ignoring them, only broken. People who break laws are criminals - no ifs, 
 | >ands, or buts, about it. If the Mageia community chooses to opeate as a 
 | >criminal organization, I will have nothing to do with it.
 | I don't agree on most of the above, and i believe the last sentence to be
 | offensive, but i will not retaliate lest it becomes a flame war.

I do not see how that statement is offensive. It is a simple statement of fact. 
If the Mageia community chooses to ignore the laws of some countries for any 
reason (even if the community can not be prosecuted), I want nothing to do 
with it. I do not believe that this will be the case, but that is how I feel. 
A strongly stated position, honestly presented should never cause offense to 
any one. If I havce offended you, I appologize as that was not my intent, but I 
will not appologize for my beliefs.

 | >We are discussing whether to accomodate software patent and copyright law 
 | >countries where it exists. I can see no way to avoud doing so. We can 
 | >patented software in our distribution if we choose to do so (and I think 
 | >should), but we must provide both mirror hosts and end users (including 
me) a 
 | >method of easily excluding such software. By doing so, we give our users 
 | >supporters the freedom to choose to obey the law where they live and still 
 | >or support our distribution.
 | The biggest problem is the variety of patent laws existing in the world,
 | besides the fact that patents are not granted worldwide, thus forcing
 | mageia to taint software that should not be under different
 | legislations. See the difference between fair-use clauses in laws about
 | circumvention devices.

The variety of laws that exist is not the issue, the fact that they do exist 
is, and this is why I think PLF is a good place for "questionable" software. 
If we choose to provide such software ourselves, then it should be in a 
"tainted" listing or repo. 

 | >As I see it, we already have a usable mirror lay-out (posted earlier in 
 | >thread). The only real discussion that should remain is whether to include 
 | >"tainted" branch in the official Mageia tree, or to offer it in an alternate 
 | >repository such as PLF (my earlier suggestion).
 | I don't believe a separate repository would give any benefit, in any
 | case it would be software provided by mageia, and built on mageia
 | build-cluster.

If we place the "tainted" software in the official Mageia mirror, then it should 
be in its own directory. If we put it in PLF, then it will get its own 
repository as a natural course of events. In either case, what is most 
important is that the user be able to install Mageia without the potential 
risk that such software may present, then if the user chooses to install the 
"questionable" software, (s)he is making an informed decision.

 | >In either case, I do not believe that ALL patented (or Copyrighted) 
 | >should be placed there (in the "tainted" branch). Some such software comes 
 | >with explicit permission to use (perhaps nVidia and/or ATI drivers?). In 
 | >cases, we may be able to contact the patent or copyright holder and get 
 | >explicit permission to include their software in our distribution. In such 
 | >cases, we should be able to safely (for both our users and supporters) 
 | >the patented / copyrighted software with the official branch of our 
 | >distribution.
 | Software with non-free license but permission to distribute should end
 | in non-free, software with a non-free license and no permission to
 | distribute should not be distributed. But this is a very different issue
 | from free-software possibly breaking some patent. Please do not mix the
 | two issues.

I agree with both parts of your first statement. I was not thinking at all 
about free software that may break some patent, but perhaps I should have. 
There is free software that is known to be patent infringing (writing 
(creating) an mp3 file comes to mind). It is such software that should be 
placed separately (perhaps in a "non-free" or "tainted" directory) from the 
main Mageia distribution. I have no problem with such software being 
distributed where it is legal. I simply want to make it easy for end users and 
miror hosts to exclude this software where it is illegal. I will not enter 
into the argument that it is not illegal untill the patent holder comes after 
you. To my way of thinking, that feels very similar to saying that stealing is 
not a crime untill you get caught.

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
Registered Linux User 247790
ICQ 41060744

More information about the Mageia-dev mailing list