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Re: Adding advisory notification for non-ELPA package.el downloads

From: Yuri Khan
Subject: Re: Adding advisory notification for non-ELPA package.el downloads
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2017 22:00:53 +0700

On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:45 PM, Richard Stallman <address@hidden> wrote:

> I see a misunderstanding.  This is not a question of "dealing with"
> individual packages one by one.  The goal is to make sure people are
> aware of the importance of getting legal papers as they accept
> contributions.

I’d like to voice several ideas related to attracting users and
developers and raising awareness of the Emacs contribution policy.

1. Emacs has a web site at <https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/>. At
the same time, the emacs.org domain name, although under control of
FSF, stands unused.

**Suggestion:** Make https://emacs.org/ the official site of Emacs. Or
at least set up redirection from ^https://emacs\.org/\(.*\)$ to

2. The Emacs web site has a two-line menu, but no “Contributing” item
in that menu. One has to go through “Documentation & Support”, then
the Reporting Bugs subheading, then actually read the first paragraph
of that section, which sends them to the CONTRIBUTE file, which is a
literal plain text copy of that file from the source tree. That file
goes on to tell a lot of technical things about the development
process, but does not mention copyright assignment paperwork except in
passing in the section about commit messages.


* Add an actual “Contributing” page to the Emacs web site, and a link
to that page to the site menu.

* That page should be an attractively formatted web page, not a plain
text file with Org markup.

* It should be reasonably short, have clear structure, and might link
to sub-pages for detailed explanations.

* Copyright assignment should be discussed early in that page. It
should explain the benefit of copyright assignment concisely,
convincingly, and *in terms of the contributor*. (As in, “If you
assign copyright to us, we will defend it on your behalf against evil
corporations that are out there to parasitize on your work”.)
Alternatives should also be explored, with explanations how choosing a
different path is bad for *the contributor* as well as the community.

3. The ELPA site, <http://elpa.gnu.org/>, says this near the bottom of
the home page: “To contribute new packages refer to the README”, where
README is a link to another Org-like plain text file that discusses
technicalities without mentioning copyright paperwork.


* Make that README an attractively formatted, well-structured web page
or a collection of pages.

* Explain copyright assignment and alternatives there, too.

4. The MELPA site is not your competitor. It is there to fill a need,
both for users and package authors.

**Suggestion:** Place a short notice there, to the effect of “Wouldn’t
it be great if your package were accepted into ELPA? Consider this…”
with a short explanation of the prerequisites and a link to the ELPA

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