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#1 2016-04-08 22:16:26

Horizon_Brave
Operating System: Linux-Nettrix
Registered: 2015-10-18
Posts: 1,473

A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

Hey everyone. This was mentioned in the "What are you reading thread" but I figured it may be able to stand on it's own as a separate thread because I feel it's pretty important to discuss. Many of you may already know what's going on with this, but to those newer to the community and those who don't follow the more inner political noise, may not have heard much about this. Also I realize we're on a debian based forum, so opinions about this will be bit biased. But I hope we can try to see both sides.
Debian v. Xscreensaver

The short short back story:

Apparently the dev. of the xscreensaver utility which debian packages a older version of in it's stable release, is upset. This stems from the fact that the package that debby ships is a bit older, so much so that it's been patched multiple times over.  So the dev. vehemently wishes that the debian maintainers no longer even package xscreensaver in *any* of it's releases.


Argument 1:  Of course this then dives into the idea that if you use a free and opensource license like the GPL or mit license, then people have the right to package it and distribute it on their distro's. Just like debian is doing. I don't think any of the licenses state anything about having to specify what version of the software you're distributing. It'd be like saying you can stick your hand in the cookie jar, but only allowed to eat one specified flavor that I say.


Argument 2: Then again on the flip side, it is the author's software and he's the one ultimately providing us with a free service. Doesn't it seem more ethical or morale to respect someone's wishes who does and provides something to the world?  I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often, as dev's may prefer to have their software not be 'zombified'. By that I mean the older packaged versions still living on and they have to deal with. 

The post from him is below, as I'm sure many of you have seen.  Also for anyone interested, there's a good discussion about this topic on the latest podcast of LinuxVoice episode 6 (currently on season 4 at the moment).

So, any thoughts from you guys?  I'm pretty certain I know what side most of us will fall on, but I'm just curious as to see if there should be limits to how distro maintainers can go about using the software.  Discuss!

Last edited by Horizon_Brave (2016-04-09 00:56:40)


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#2 2016-04-08 22:32:32

Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

The GPL is the GPL.

If jwz didn't want Debian to patch his warning out (as they have in sid [1]) then he should have used a different licence and had the software added to non-free rather than the main repositories.

[1] https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepo … 819703#477


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#3 2016-04-08 22:38:47

damo
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

^ +1

The dev may have a point that he is fed up with fielding bug reports which have been fixed in newer releases, but as those threads suggested, why doesn't he remove the email contact from the "About" link in the gui? hmm

He also doesn't help his case by being foul-mouthed and abusive.

And as HoaS says, "the GPL is the GPL".

PS @H_B - "morale" has a very different meaning from "moral", but also works in this case big_smile


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#4 2016-04-09 00:59:52

Horizon_Brave
Operating System: Linux-Nettrix
Registered: 2015-10-18
Posts: 1,473

Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

damo wrote:

PS @H_B - "morale" has a very different meaning from "moral", but also works in this case big_smile

Damnit, as a 1 semester English major, I could really kick myself... big_smile

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

If jwz didn't want Debian to patch his warning out (as they have in sid [1]) then he should have used a different licence and had the software added to non-free rather than the main repositories.


Hmm that is true...I wasn't aware that the dev could *choose* which repo his software was uploaded to. I thought that came on the distro maintainer's side of things (ergo debian)

Last edited by Horizon_Brave (2016-04-09 01:00:13)


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#5 2016-04-09 03:01:20

johnraff
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

Horizon_Brave wrote:

I wasn't aware that the dev could *choose* which repo his software was uploaded to. I thought that came on the distro maintainer's side of things (ergo debian)

It does come on the Debian side. I think HOAS meant that if xscreensaver was released under a less free licence then it would no longer qualify to be in the "main" repo. Whether it would then be put in the "non-free" repo, or not shipped at all, would be up to the Debian maintainers.


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#6 2016-04-09 03:38:03

pingu
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

He supplies a software under the GPL, but provides it with a timebomb. That's the sort of thing you would expect from proprietary software, never from something under a GPL (he's basically saying, "fork me you silly goose!").
I can't expect anything coherent from somebody like that and I think people are taking him too seriously.

Horizon_Brave wrote:

... I'm actually surprised this doesn't happen more often, as dev's may prefer to have their software not be 'zombified'.

That's probably because most devs understand that it's actually not their software, and those who think otherwise usually don't release their software under a free license.

I see it this way:
Is every letter sent by me "my" letter? (no, it's the person's to whom the letter is addressed)
Can I tell my ex's to destroy the letters I've sent them and expect them to abide? (yes, but I cannot expect them to abide)
Can I send a time-bomb inside a letter so it gets destroyed  after a certain period of time? (yes, but that's super douchey)

Last edited by pingu (2016-04-09 04:07:26)


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#7 2016-04-09 05:10:07

ohnonot
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

The GPL is the GPL.

and altogether now:

The GPL is the GPL.

and this:

pingu wrote:

He supplies a software under the GPL, but provides it with a timebomb. That's the sort of thing you would expect from proprietary software, never from something under a GPL (he's basically saying, "fork me you silly goose!").

fork, fork, fork! the miraculous feeding of the multitude!

i was sorely empted to post something really acid after reading through the debian bug report thread (read it!) on pvsage's original post, but then i thought:
cut the poor guy some slack, and also don't give him more attention than he deserves, and what's the purpose of posting abuse anyway.

today i thought about it more - the problem is double standards(*).
i have encountered double standards(*) a few times in my life; each time the affected project (an association, community project, even relationship/family) failed bitterly in the end.

(*) examples:
- for tax reasons we are married, but really we have an open relationship.
- on the paper one of us is the boss and the others his/her underlings, but really we're totally on one level here.
- my project comes under the GPL, but really i expect people to respect my feelings for my pet project, that I have been working on since 1992, so it's morally mine, even though the GPL says differently...

PS:
also yesterday i observed xscreensaver's silly behavior myself on a rarely used debian LXDE virtual machine. extremely annoying and pointless since the end user has no easy way of changing this.

Last edited by ohnonot (2016-04-09 05:14:47)


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#8 2016-04-09 05:45:54

nore
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

Losing Xscreensaver is not a loss. It belongs to the not-so-glorious past like a colorful 90's shell suit.

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#9 2016-04-09 08:47:56

pingu
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Posts: 128

Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

ohnonot wrote:

also yesterday i observed xscreensaver's silly behavior myself on a rarely used debian LXDE virtual machine. extremely annoying and pointless since the end user has no easy way of changing this.

I actually installed faketime just to see the error.

faketime -f '0000-12-24 00:00:00' /bin/bash -c xscreensaver &

would "solve" it for the end user. doesn't make it less crappy though.

Last edited by pingu (2016-04-09 08:48:31)


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#10 2016-04-09 09:02:52

Head_on_a_Stick
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

^ Is there a USE flag for annoying popups?
tongue


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#11 2016-04-09 12:24:24

pingu
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Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 128

Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:

^ Is there a USE flag for annoying popups?
tongue

There is.
"douchebaggery"
you need to compile with   `-douchebaggery"` do get rid of it.

Last edited by pingu (2016-04-09 12:24:42)


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#12 2016-04-09 17:51:26

jalexander9
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

^ smile

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#13 2016-04-09 20:46:10

pvsage
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

jwz doesn't understand the GPL; it looks like he thinks it means the same as freeware, which it isn't.  The update timebomb is what you'd find in freeware, not F(L)OSS.


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#14 2016-04-10 05:26:04

KrunchTime
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Re: A Moral Obligation for Distro's?

nore wrote:

Losing Xscreensaver is not a loss. It belongs to the not-so-glorious past like a colorful 90's shell suit.

I like it.

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