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Re: to autodownload or not to autodownload



Christopher Aillon wrote:
On 02/08/2008 12:54 PM, Hans de Goede wrote:
Hi All,

Starting a new thread for the autodownload discussion which has forked of the google-earth thread.

First of all let say that I understand that autodownloader is a grey area, and as such I'm more then willing to discuss its use and maybe put down some guidelines for its use. For myself I've used as guideline sofar: -autodownloader is only for content, and only for content for Free engines /
 applications.

I must say however although I understand the greyness and the worries about autodl, I must say I'm currently not much inclined to spend much time defending it.

Why? Because we also ship the blacker then black, actually automatically downloading closed source code, not content but code! codecbuddy. Not only does it automatically download some gratis closed source code, it even offers the user to buy closed source code, effectively free advertising for commercial closed source! I've kept quiet about this sofar, because I much rather spend time being productive then having discussions, but IMHO this is _not_ acceptable.

So my stance on autodownloader is simple, next to codecbuddy its brightly shining white, so white it almost hurts the eyes. So if we're going to discuss things like this, lets start with the largest offender and remove codecbuddy!

If, once codecbuddy has been removed, the conclusion of more discussion will end up that autodownloader is not acceptable too, then so be it. I will gladly sacrifice autodownloader if thats the price to pay to get codecbuddy (as is) removed.

I must say that any complaints about autodownloader before codecbuddy gets removed, to me, are nothing short of hypocritical, and therefor will not be taken very seriously by me.

I am fine with autodownloader, so long as the game using the data will work on some level without non-free data.

I understand and I can go along with this reasoning to a certain extent. Notice that this is a guidelines (as written) change. The rule that we only ship applications which are not non-functional without any content / include some freely redistributable data needed to make them functional. Is an unwritten rule (last time I checked), and was originally not coined in such a broad manner. The original reason for this rule was to protect Fedora against contributary copyright infringement claims when shipping emulators, a point which everyone seems to be forgetting and everyone seems to be stretching this rule way beyond its original meaning.

Let me try to explain the orignal rule with an example. For example a GPL licensed emulator for an old acorn computer may not be included despite its GPL license since it is only usefull using acorn riscos roms which are copyrighted and may not be freely redistributed. Since its only use is with copyright protected material, shipping the (non functional) emulator could be seen as contributary copyright infringement since the emulator clearly does not have a significant non infringing use.

OTOH, shipping a doom engine variant clearly is fine, even if it is one which doesn't work with the freedoom datafiles, since the original doom engine was released under the GPL by the doom copyright holders, so clearly they allow distribution of the engine without it being accompanied by doom datafiles.

So changing this unwritten rule to mean that any piece of software which is non functional without any content, and for which no freely redistributable content is available, may not be included. Would be a very broad stretching of the original rule (which we really need to write down somewhere).

If we make this guideline change we will need todo a full audit of Fedora, as I know for sure that there other pieces of software, probably many, which will fall under the new stretched rule.

I understand that Fedora is about freedom, and I very much support striving for this freedom, including being willing to drop autodownloader if that is the consensus, however I don't find it fair that autodownloader always seems to get targeted as if it were the only offender. Therefor I ask that if this is discussed the discussion gets caried out much wider then just discussing autodownloader, and that the discussion will include applications which are only usefull using non-free web services and codina to name a few.

For an example of a non game application which also needs non free content to be downloaded to be functional see xtide.

> To that end, I
appreciate the fact that we've gotten many data files licenses changed such that they are free and hope this continues.


I agree, and getting upstream to change the license is always the prefered path, but unfortunately not always feasible take bolzplatz2006 for example, when I contact upstream about changing the license the projectlead said sure we can do that, but much later he got back to me that some of the contributers didn't want to drop the NC clause of the CC license they used.

Still by providing bolzplatz we are:
1) showing the best freesoftware can be (the software is free, unfortunately
   the content is not)
2) doing a big service to our users as compiling bolzplatz2006 from sources is
   a big PITA, oh and we've patched it to also work on 64 bit machines.
3) Providing a unique (no free content alternatives) application

In general the problem is that content creators (artists) are not as much into freedom thinking (yet?) as the freesoftware movement is, esp they think that no one should be allowed to make any money of their work in any way. On top of that they also often think that their creation is perfect as is, and don't want others to harm their work by modifying it.

Take the largest opencontent movement for example, the creative commons, many of the licenses they provide are non free by our standards, and unfortunately the non free ones, esp. the non commercial one, are the most populair ones.


Regards,

Hans


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