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Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:27:24 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4.50 (gnu/linux)

Michal Nazarewicz <address@hidden> writes:

>> On Wed, Feb 19 2014, David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> With regard to copyright assignments, you pretend that it is some magic
>>> ritual of initiation.  There is nobody who'd be more glad than the FSF
>>> if this kind of paperwork was without merit and unneeded.
> On Thu, Mar 27 2014, Michal Nazarewicz wrote:
>> There are people who would argue that this kind of paperwork is in fact
>> unneeded.  I admit it has merit, and I understand why lawyers want it,
>> but it's not at all clear that it is worth creating this burden.
> All right, let me take a step back because it seems my argument was
> worded too strongly and spawn a discussion that I did not intend.

Sigh.  It did not "spawn a discussion".  It merely led to the thousandth
iteration of the same old points that have been valid for the last 25

Again: what makes you think that you can contribute anything new to it?

> What I'm trying to say is that copyright assignment *is* a red tape.
> It *does* prevent patches from going into Emacs.

What makes you think that nobody understood that?

> One can put fingers in their ears and claim this in not the case

Can you _please_ stop attacking the same strawmen all over?  Nobody
claims that this is not the case.

> but such behaviour would be hurtful to Emacs.

You don't seem to be able to get it into your head that some decisions
involve tradeoffs.  Naturally, there is a downside.  But you are
mistaken in your insistence that everybody buy yourself must have been
too stupid in the last 25 years to ever notice.

> The other option is to admit the issue, but say GNU project chosen to
> go with CAs anyway, and stop the discussion here.  This is better, but
> I don't think the discussion needs to stop there.

There is no discussion.  A discussion is something which people enter
with the will to leave it with different opinions than they started
with.  Since this topic has been talked over backwards and forwards and
discussed with lawyers for more than 25 years and is inherently tied to
copyright law and the way the GPL works, you cannot expect the people
who are in it to go into your "discussion" with the expectation to hear
something new.  And apparently you yourself do not accept any point of
view except your own and will rather put up strawmen than accept that
anybody has thought this through.

> So here are some ideas that would reduce the cost of a first patch:
> - Allow the first 100 patches without a CA.
> - Allow electronically-signed CA.
> - Allow electronically-signed CA for the first 100 patches, and then
>   require dead-tree CA.
> - Allow multi-project CAs (perhaps a form with a list of check-boxes).
> A lawyer will tell you[1] that it increases risk and may make
> enforcement harder, but your job is not to do whatever lawyers tell
> you,

Do you even understand that the GPL is a _legal_ tool and works through
legal processes?

It's like telling a bank "your job is not to do whatever security
experts tell you but what makes your customers happy" with regard to
electronic banking.

> but weight the risks against benefits, and I *strongly* believe that
> in the case of Emacs benefits of allowing the first 100 patches w/o a
> CA *greatly* exceed risks.

Emacs is the first application _ever_ released under the GPL.  The GPL
was _created_ for it.  By Richard Stallman, 25 years ago, in
consultation with lawyers.  The processes the FSF follows are discussed
with some of the best law professors in the field of copyright.  That
has been the case for decades.

If you come to the table with "I am not a lawyer but I think you should
do everything differently because I think I know better", do you really
expect _any_ outcome from this "discussion" other than that you are
going to convince yourself to be dealing with unreasonable people?

David Kastrup

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