Tales from the Gryphon/ archives/ 2005/

Tales from the Gryphon

Archives for 2005/06

Manoj's hackergotchi
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Monday 02 January
2006
Link: It is about Freedom, stupid

Posted early Monday morning, January 2nd, 2006

It is about Freedom, stupid

Suppose I have a set of Trade Marks, all legally set up and registered. I write up some software, and I am so enamored of my Marks that I intertwine them with every bit of my code (hey, they look pretty, OK, which is why I make them my Marks). Indeed, the effort of ripping them out would be essentially the same as rewriting the code. I, then, being the free software guy that I am, license the code under the MIT license.

However, I do love my marks -- so I have an aggressive trade mark enforcement policy, and I actively pursue usage of my marks by anybody unless they have approval from me -- and I don't allow them to use my mark if they have modified my code (I mean, who knows what butchery of my mark and my reputation shall then ensue?)

Should this piece of software be considered free by Debian? While the freedom to modify and distribute the software is effectively been taken away from the users of my software, there are those who argue that the software is free, since the freedom has been taken away by Trade Mark law, and not copyright law. By a strict reading of the letter of the DFSG, they claim that since only copyright licenses are mentioned, any other abrogation of freedom does not count. This is wrong.

The bottom line is whether the users have the freedom to modify the software, not exactly how the restriction of freedom was achieved. One should be looking at the freedoms, the so called spirit of the social contract, and not a strict interpretation of the exact wording of what is supposed to be a guideline, anyway (and yes, I know that the guideline argument has lent itself to abuse in times past).

Manoj

Monday 02 January
2006
Link: Moving policy to arch.debian.org

Posted early Monday morning, January 2nd, 2006

Moving policy to arch.debian.org

I have long been interested in moving the debian-policy package away from CVS, but had never quite managed to gather enough motivation to do the switch. Debian policy has long had an Alioth project, but I finally managed to file a support ticket, and nag Wichert into creating the arch project for policy.

The first step was to convert the CVS version into an arch repository, and this is where cscvs comes in. cscvs is nice, but I am told that Canonical has a better, private version, and helpful folks there offered to do a managed conversion to arch for me using these cutting edge tools. I declined, being persnickety enough to want to convert Debian technical policy using tools in Debian itself. And, apart from two change-sets (numbers 117 and 125), cscvs managed to do the conversion to arch (the bazaar flavour) nicely on its own (well, after a few false starts as I climbed the learning curve). Came to 283 change-sets. Have a look at my Debian policy branch. It can be registered at http://arch.debian.org/arch/private/srivasta/archive-etch/.

The next step was to create a baz archive on arch.debian.org, and use Clint's ACL recipe to allow people in the dbnpolicy group to have write access. And then, since I wanted this branch to also have the full set of distinct patch logs, I cycled through all 286 patches in my local branch, replayed and committed them into the remote branch one by one. You may browse the public, or release, branch as well. This version can be registered at http://arch.debian.org/arch/dbnpolicy/etch/.

Manoj


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