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Re: No more ports of unfree software



On Sun, May 25, 2003 at 07:23:10PM +0200, Christian Weisgerber wrote:
> I think after the hackathon there is a fair bit of consensus among
> porters that we want to put the brakes on ports of software that
> we can't at least put up for FTP.  I would like to remind everybody
> of the OpenBSD Project goals (see goals.html).

It says "integrate good code from any source with acceptable copyright"
but we are not integrating this software into the OpenBSD tree, we are
segregating it from the base OpenBSD system via the ports framework.

> We don't want to import any more ports with PERMIT_*_FTP != Yes.
> There may be good reasons for exceptions and these can be individually
> evaluated, but in general we want to just say, no thanks.  And if
> you prepare to submit a new port, please look at the license.

As Niklas pointed out:

"Be as politics-free as possible; solutions should be decided on the
basis of technical merit."

Darwin Streaming Server is a great example as the alternatives are poor:

http://lithely.net/distfiles/ports/live-port.tar.gz

Based on technical merits alone, Darwin Streaming Server wins.  The
live.com libraries and streaming programs are poorly coded and
documented not to mention that they use non-standard protocols which are
only used by live.com themselves.  You can build mplayer with support
for the live.com format, but it's horribly messy.  The live.com
installation instructions tell you to move the whole source/build
directory to /usr/local...

I use the best software for the job, regardless of licensing.  I know
some OpenBSD developers still use the djb tools even though they've been
removed from the ports tree.  What was the story with that removal?
Isn't that what PERMIT_*=No is for?  Did DJB e-mail someone and
explicitly say that there couldn't be an OpenBSD port?  I recall hearing
something to that effect.  Anyway, see:

http://cr.yp.to/softwarelaw.html

Excerpt from it:

Free software
 What does all this mean for the free software world? Once you've
 legally downloaded a program, you can compile it. You can run it. You
 can modify it. You can distribute your patches for other people to use.
 If you think you need a license from the copyright holder, you've been
 bamboozled by Microsoft. As long as you're not distributing the
 software, you have nothing to worry about.

It certainly sounds like DJB would be fine with PERMIT_*=No.

> A re-evaluation of the existing ports that suffer from restrictive
> licensing is also in order.

The "mystuff" directory on my machine is big enough with ports I'm
testing / hammering into shape.  I don't want to see it grow with
software removed due to "inappropriate licensing".  What are the PERMIT
lines for anyway?  I thought it was to make sure OpenBSD didn't get
sued.  Don't decide if software is "free enough" for people to use,
leave that decision up to the end user.