[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

Romain d'Alverny rdalverny at gmail.com
Thu Dec 16 12:36:51 CET 2010

On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 10:47, Ernest N. Wilcox Jr. <ewilcox at bex.net> wrote:
> 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.

So you do already. The common subset of laws of all countries in the
world is like... almost empty. The global tendency in the past decades
is to grow this common subset but it's far from being achieved (and
may as well reverse, history showed us).

As a matter of fact, Mageia as an organisation fostering free software
and innovation through collaboration is likely to ignore/refute/fight,
by whatever mean and at whatever relevant scale, laws that would
censor/prohibit, as such:
 - reverse-engineering
 - cryptography tools
 - freedom of speech
 - user privacy
 - to name just 4 of them.

See? There are significant countries in this case.

"Obey the law" is not rule #0 in life (even more if unbalanced). If it
were, we would mostly all be slaves, instead of free citizens.

> A strongly stated position, honestly presented should never cause offense to
> any one.

You cannot please everyone. Law of life.

> If I havce offended you, I appologize as that was not my intent, but I
> will not appologize for my beliefs.

And you should not. :-) As long as things are said with respect.

> 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.

Yes. But this is still an "imperfect" solution as the frontier between
what should be in tainted and core will vary according to the
territory you are in. So we have to decide on a _reasonable_ frontier,
that will not match strictly everyone anyway.

> 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.

We can't do it totally for three reasons:
 * law is not universally the same;
 * law changes, wherever it is. What is legal today may be illegal
tomorrow. What was illegal today may be legal tomorrow.
 * patents may be invalid or have expired (although properly registered).

So again, that does not help us but realize that we cannot have a
stable layout policy for what comes under "core", "non-free" and
"tainted". This is a matter of finding a reasonable balance, regarding
a given set of laws (likely, European/US laws).

Because, otherwise:
 * as soon as someone claims having a patent anywhere on some methods
implemented in some software of core, it should move to "tainted"
(with all consequences).
 * as soon as a patent expire (or its invalidity is revealed through a
court decision), all related "tainted" packages may move into "core"
or "non-free".

So indeed, we've got to build this "tainted" repository and fill it
with what we think it should reasonably be with; that means having a
policy (list of questions to ask to qualify the package/software to
enter "tainted" or not). I proposed one earlier, that was extreme
(that was the goal). We should have a similar one, amended.

> 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.

Do not map physical/concrete world metaphors to immaterial world. It
is not the same. Not the same rules apply. And thinking/law is lagging
a lot in this regard, as for any new/young stuff.



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