[Mageia-dev] Mirror layout

andre999 andr55 at laposte.net
Wed Dec 15 02:48:48 CET 2010

Hoyt Duff a écrit :
> On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 2:44 AM, Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.<ewilcox at bex.net>  wrote:
>>   People who break laws are criminals - no ifs,
>> ands, or buts, about it.

Although I disagree with your conclusions (which I will explain further 
down), your post does bring up an important point.
Mageia would better avoid alienating potential users who might 
mistakenly associate Mageia with illegitimate activity.

Which makes including a set of Mageia repositories specifically for 
constrained (or "tainted") software problematic.
Although having such repositories for Mageia on a site like PLF 
shouldn't cause problems, as there would be a clear distance between 
them and Mageia.

> People who break _criminal_ laws like murder and assault are criminals.
> People who break _civil_ laws like traffic or zoning are not usually
> considered criminals by the general public.
> So, not all laws are alike and not all people who break laws can be
> reasonably labeled as criminals.

And in the case of alleged patent vioations, users may be violating the 
patent holder's civil right to demand compensation for the use of their 
patent.  Where it can become illegal, and only in the civil law sense, 
is if the alleged violator refuses to pay the compensation demanded, and 
subsequently a court decides that the patent applies and the 
compensation demanded is reasonable under the circumstances.
(At least, that is how it works in the U.S.)
So we are talking about something that is less illegal than jaywalking.
(Luckily here in Canada, as in many countries, software patents don't 

Note also that for free/open source software, where no possibility of 
collecting royalties exists, there is generally little interest for a 
patent holder to restrict Linux users and thus encourage the development 
of alternate solutions, which could then be adopted by those currently 
(or potentially in the future) paying royalties to the patent holder.

> When there is dispute in the larger world community as to whether or
> not some behavior rises to a criminal nature, one cannot assign it
> some moral value and enforce it world-wide with any significance.


>> If the Mageia community chooses to opeate as a
>> criminal organization, I will have nothing to do with it.

Rest assured, no-one is proposing that.
You may not be aware, but (as I have recently learned) both Debian and 
Ubuntu openly distribute packages constrained by software patents, and 
have many mirror sites in the U.S. - without any apparent problems.

> ...
> In other words, if the taint is available to you, and you believe to
> touch the taint is bad, don't do it. But don't force others to follow
> your rules.

Very true.  As Richard Stallman says, free software is about freedom.
Let's keep it that way.

> The PLF approach has been a good one because it allows the specific
> option of touching the taint or not while accepting the official
> distro defaults.

I think so too.
PLF packages also enable many options which are somewhat incompatible 
with the free/open source philosophy, but not necessarily legally 
constrained.  So there is a role available for PLF that would probably 
not be as well served by a set of constrained repos on Mageia.

- André

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