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Old 12-28-2009, 04:36 AM
Vincent Launchbury
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

Hi,

I recently emailed the Gentoo PR team, voicing my concerns about the
amount of non-free software within Gentoo. I got an interesting response
from Sebastian Pipping, who said that while Gentoo is all about choice,
including the choice to install non-free software, the project is
interested in making it easy for people to run a 100% free system,
should they choose that path.

I found out about the license filtering feature in the dev version of
portage, and used it to remove all the non-free software from my
system. However, it wasn't a perfect experience. Based on what Sebastian
had to say, and my own experience using it, I have a few suggestions.

1) Not all of the licenses are completely accurate. For example, the
Linux kernels are listed as soley GPL-2, yet they contain blobs of
non-free firmware. Perhaps a general-purpose "not-free" license could be
appended to such packages. This would only affect people who choose to
use the feature. It could be minused from the FSF-APPROVED group for
example.

Also relating to this, what is freedist? The package app-text/dos2unix
lists 'freedist' as its license, and /usr/portage/licenses/freedist says
only "Freely Distributable". Several other packages do this, and I'm
sure it's not correct. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the dos2unix
package is from http://www.thefreecountry.com/tofrodos/, which clearly
says its GPLv2. Packages like this could be looked into and fixed.

2) There are no free versions of the kernel in the main tree. The Latin
American FSF maintains blob-free kernels at
http://www.linux-libre.fsfla.org/pub/linux-libre/releases/. They could
be added alongside the official vanilla ebuilds.

3) Some free software packages bring in non-free optional dependencies
by default. For example, media-gfx/imagemagick brings in
media-fonts/corefonts. As suggested by Sebastian, a free profile could be
created, that changes these defaults, to reduce the hassle of
maintaining a free system. Again, this would only affect users who
choose to use that profile.

4) Using something like ACCEPT_LICENSES="-* @FSF-APPROVED" is a good
start, but its quite a hassle to keep checking all the licenses. One
annoyance is packages like sys-devel/gcc. gcc has the libgcc license,
which is just GPLv2+, with some extra permissions granted. Although it's
important to make such a distinction, these extra freedoms are
irrelevant to license filtering.

I suppose the only feasible way to fix this would be to expand the
license groups in /usr/portage/profiles/license_groups. Would it cause
any problems if they were quite large?

Another option might be to introduce an optional IS_FREE="yes/no" option
to the ebuild files, which could override the other license settings.

5) Documentation on how to set up and maintain a fully free system could
be added.


To summarize, my general idea is to fix some licensing issues, introduce
the libre kernels and have a 100% free profile that would create the
least possible amount of hassle for anyone using it. This in turn would
make Gentoo more accessible to the free software community, without
affecting people that don't use the profile.

This is my first post here, so I apologize if it's misdirected. I'm not
sure if I'd really be able to help much on the technical side, but if
this garners any cooperation, I'll gladly help out with anything I can.
If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful.

Kind Regards,
Vincent Launchbury.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 07:10 AM
Rémi Cardona
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

Le 28/12/2009 06:36, Vincent Launchbury a écrit :
> Hi,
>
> I recently emailed the Gentoo PR team, voicing my concerns about the
> amount of non-free software within Gentoo. I got an interesting response
> from Sebastian Pipping, who said that while Gentoo is all about choice,
> including the choice to install non-free software, the project is
> interested in making it easy for people to run a 100% free system,
> should they choose that path.

Gentoo - like the rest of Free and Open Source Software - isn't about
choice, it's about empowering users.

Gentoo gives you tools and documentation to do whatever you wish. It
doesn't mean that we (Gentoo) _have_ to support it.

With that out of the way, moving on to the rest of the mail.

> 1) Not all of the licenses are completely accurate. For example, the
> Linux kernels are listed as soley GPL-2, yet they contain blobs of
> non-free firmware.

Indeed, that's a very good point. And that's precisely why I was against
ACCEPT_LICENSE to begin with.

It's a good idea on paper, but it's just not feasible at a large scale
(like portage) without a proper _team_ of devoted people sifting through
code and license blobs to make it useful. I'm also pretty sure a couple
lawyers would be needed as well.

Unless people dedicate time and effort, ACCEPT_LICENSE is useless.

[snip]

The rest of your points are indeed all valid as well.

I can only encourage you to either work with individual developers to
get ebuilds fixed (USE=bindist or whatever) or join our ranks to fix
this yourself if you really want a "pure" Free Gentoo.

> This is my first post here, so I apologize if it's misdirected. I'm not
> sure if I'd really be able to help much on the technical side, but if
> this garners any cooperation, I'll gladly help out with anything I can.
> If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful.

I'd say this is probably better suited for gentoo-project, but it's
probably ok to start here, to gauge interest

Best of luck

Rémi
 
Old 12-28-2009, 10:21 AM
Jeroen Roovers
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On Mon, 28 Dec 2009 00:36:34 -0500
Vincent Launchbury <vincent@doublecreations.com> wrote:

> Also relating to this, what is freedist? The package app-text/dos2unix
> lists 'freedist' as its license, and /usr/portage/licenses/freedist
> says only "Freely Distributable". Several other packages do this, and
> I'm sure it's not correct. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the
> dos2unix package is from http://www.thefreecountry.com/tofrodos/,
> which clearly says its GPLv2. Packages like this could be looked into
> and fixed.

No, that would be app-text/tofrodos (see bug #225903 [1] for details
- some of the confusion over where the app-text/dos2unix sources
originated was discussed there).


Regards,
jer


[1] https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=225903
 
Old 12-28-2009, 12:11 PM
Nirbheek Chauhan
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM, Rémi Cardona <remi@gentoo.org> wrote:
> Le 28/12/2009 06:36, Vincent Launchbury a écrit :
>> 1) Not all of the licenses are completely accurate. For example, the
>> Linux kernels are listed as soley GPL-2, yet they contain blobs of
>> non-free firmware.
>
> Indeed, that's a very good point. And that's precisely why I was against
> ACCEPT_LICENSE to begin with.
>
> It's a good idea on paper, but it's just not feasible at a large scale
> (like portage) without a proper _team_ of devoted people sifting through
> code and license blobs to make it useful. I'm also pretty sure a couple
> lawyers would be needed as well.
>

I think we can simply follow debian and fedora's lead on this. They
have the lawyers, and being in the same bowl as them would be a good
idea if any problems ever crop up. One area where we're in a fishy
situation (distinct from debian/fedora) is our distribution of isos
and stages without the adjoining sources[1]. This situation always
makes me queasy. But I'm digressing here...

> Unless people dedicate time and effort, ACCEPT_LICENSE is useless.
>

Not entirely useless, and maintainers can, and should, spend time
making sure ACCEPT_LICENSE is complete and accurate.

> [snip]
>
> The rest of your points are indeed all valid as well.
>
> I can only encourage you to either work with individual developers to
> get ebuilds fixed (USE=bindist or whatever) or join our ranks to fix
> this yourself if you really want a "pure" Free Gentoo.
>

++ on this. We're a direct-to-users distro; we empower you and give
you the means to empower yourself. We probably have the easiest and
most direct way to get recruited (although it's strenous on the
recruiters side .


1. Actually, I was thinking we could take the result at the end of
src_prepare, tarball it up, do it for all the packages we have in the
iso, tar up all *those* and serve the end result up too.

--
~Nirbheek Chauhan

Gentoo GNOME+Mozilla Team
 
Old 12-28-2009, 01:37 PM
Jeremy Olexa
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

Vincent Launchbury wrote:

Hi,

I recently emailed the Gentoo PR team, voicing my concerns about the
amount of non-free software within Gentoo. I got an interesting response
from Sebastian Pipping, who said that while Gentoo is all about choice,
including the choice to install non-free software, the project is
interested in making it easy for people to run a 100% free system,
should they choose that path.

I found out about the license filtering feature in the dev version of
portage, and used it to remove all the non-free software from my
system. However, it wasn't a perfect experience. Based on what Sebastian
had to say, and my own experience using it, I have a few suggestions.

1) Not all of the licenses are completely accurate. For example, the
Linux kernels are listed as soley GPL-2, yet they contain blobs of
non-free firmware. Perhaps a general-purpose "not-free" license could be
appended to such packages. This would only affect people who choose to
use the feature. It could be minused from the FSF-APPROVED group for
example.

Also relating to this, what is freedist? The package app-text/dos2unix
lists 'freedist' as its license, and /usr/portage/licenses/freedist says
only "Freely Distributable". Several other packages do this, and I'm
sure it's not correct. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the dos2unix
package is from http://www.thefreecountry.com/tofrodos/, which clearly
says its GPLv2. Packages like this could be looked into and fixed.


File bugs mate. Licensing is not exactly clear to all users or devs. As
can be seen here[1] for dos2unix. It sounds like you care in this area,
so get involved.


[1]: https://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=177822

-Jeremy



2) There are no free versions of the kernel in the main tree. The Latin
American FSF maintains blob-free kernels at
http://www.linux-libre.fsfla.org/pub/linux-libre/releases/. They could
be added alongside the official vanilla ebuilds.

3) Some free software packages bring in non-free optional dependencies
by default. For example, media-gfx/imagemagick brings in
media-fonts/corefonts. As suggested by Sebastian, a free profile could be
created, that changes these defaults, to reduce the hassle of
maintaining a free system. Again, this would only affect users who
choose to use that profile.

4) Using something like ACCEPT_LICENSES="-* @FSF-APPROVED" is a good
start, but its quite a hassle to keep checking all the licenses. One
annoyance is packages like sys-devel/gcc. gcc has the libgcc license,
which is just GPLv2+, with some extra permissions granted. Although it's
important to make such a distinction, these extra freedoms are
irrelevant to license filtering.

I suppose the only feasible way to fix this would be to expand the
license groups in /usr/portage/profiles/license_groups. Would it cause
any problems if they were quite large?

Another option might be to introduce an optional IS_FREE="yes/no" option
to the ebuild files, which could override the other license settings.

5) Documentation on how to set up and maintain a fully free system could
be added.


To summarize, my general idea is to fix some licensing issues, introduce
the libre kernels and have a 100% free profile that would create the
least possible amount of hassle for anyone using it. This in turn would
make Gentoo more accessible to the free software community, without
affecting people that don't use the profile.

This is my first post here, so I apologize if it's misdirected. I'm not
sure if I'd really be able to help much on the technical side, but if
this garners any cooperation, I'll gladly help out with anything I can.
If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful.

Kind Regards,
Vincent Launchbury.
 
Old 12-28-2009, 05:56 PM
"Robin H. Johnson"
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 12:36:34AM -0500, Vincent Launchbury wrote:
> 1) Not all of the licenses are completely accurate. For example, the
> Linux kernels are listed as soley GPL-2, yet they contain blobs of
> non-free firmware. Perhaps a general-purpose "not-free" license could be
> appended to such packages. This would only affect people who choose to
> use the feature. It could be minused from the FSF-APPROVED group for
> example.
Actually, this is a case where the license on the ebuild is wrong, not
the license group. The kernel ebuilds should have GPL-2 and something
else, and by definition should not pass @FSF-APPROVED alone.

> Also relating to this, what is freedist? The package app-text/dos2unix
> lists 'freedist' as its license, and /usr/portage/licenses/freedist says
> only "Freely Distributable". Several other packages do this, and I'm
> sure it's not correct. I'm not entirely sure, but I think the dos2unix
> package is from http://www.thefreecountry.com/tofrodos/, which clearly
> says its GPLv2. Packages like this could be looked into and fixed.
tofrodos is NOT dos2unix. If you compare the sources you'll see they are
radically different.

The COPYRIGHT file in dos2unix is actually a 2-clause BSD license. I've
updated the ebuild suitably.

Yes, we do definitely need to review licenses on packages where they
aren't clear, correct any mistakes.

> 2) There are no free versions of the kernel in the main tree. The Latin
> American FSF maintains blob-free kernels at
> http://www.linux-libre.fsfla.org/pub/linux-libre/releases/. They could
> be added alongside the official vanilla ebuilds.
File a bug with some ebuilds.

> 3) Some free software packages bring in non-free optional dependencies
> by default. For example, media-gfx/imagemagick brings in
> media-fonts/corefonts. As suggested by Sebastian, a free profile could be
> created, that changes these defaults, to reduce the hassle of
> maintaining a free system. Again, this would only affect users who
> choose to use that profile.
A profile is not the answer here.
An optional DEP block || ( media-fonts/corefonts ... ) where the other
item does resolve using ACCEPT_LICENSES is what should be used.

In this line of work, we would greatly appreciate bugs being filed for
all cases where dependencies are not resolvable with your reasonable
ACCEPT_LICENSES setting.

> 4) Using something like ACCEPT_LICENSES="-* @FSF-APPROVED" is a good
> start, but its quite a hassle to keep checking all the licenses. One
> annoyance is packages like sys-devel/gcc. gcc has the libgcc license,
> which is just GPLv2+, with some extra permissions granted. Although it's
> important to make such a distinction, these extra freedoms are
> irrelevant to license filtering.
>
> I suppose the only feasible way to fix this would be to expand the
> license groups in /usr/portage/profiles/license_groups. Would it cause
> any problems if they were quite large?
No, the file can become a lot larger before any problems come up.
I deliberately introduced @BINARY-REDISTRIBUTABLE to help packaging of
the 10.x release. They simply set that into their ACCEPT_LICENSES and
then we're reasonable set.

In your case, I propose that we add one or more stacked groups, with an
initial content as such:

License group name: LIBRE-FREE
Purpose: easily selectable license group for libre-free systems.
Initial license group contents:
@FSF-APPROVED @GPL-COMPATIBLE @OSI-APPROVED @LIBRE-FREE-1

License group name: LIBRE-FREE-1
Purpose: license group to put additional special-case libre-free
licenses in.
Initial license group contents:
libgcc libstdc++ gcc-runtime-library-exception-3.1

We might be able to merge LIBRE-FREE-1 directly into the LIBRE-FREE
entry, the portage folk would be able to answer if there would be a
performance benefit to having it split or not.

> Another option might be to introduce an optional IS_FREE="yes/no" option
> to the ebuild files, which could override the other license settings.
No.

> 5) Documentation on how to set up and maintain a fully free system could
> be added.
Under my license_group proposal:
# echo 'ACCEPT_LICENSES="-* @LIBRE-FREE"' >>/etc/make.conf
done.

--
Robin Hugh Johnson
Gentoo Linux: Developer, Trustee & Infrastructure Lead
E-Mail : robbat2@gentoo.org
GnuPG FP : 11AC BA4F 4778 E3F6 E4ED F38E B27B 944E 3488 4E85
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:15 PM
Richard Freeman
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On 12/28/2009 01:56 PM, Robin H. Johnson wrote:

Actually, this is a case where the license on the ebuild is wrong, not
the license group. The kernel ebuilds should have GPL-2 and something
else, and by definition should not pass @FSF-APPROVED alone.


Is this appropriate? The kernel sources indicate that they are licensed
under GPLv2, and they make no mention of other licenses for any
component of the sources.


Perhaps Linus/etc are wrong about this - but shouldn't that be something
that people take up with them, unless Gentoo gets a letter from some
lawyers claiming that we're infringing?


For that matter, for all we know kdelibs contains 10 lines of code from
Jack Smith, who didn't agree to the LGPL and those 10 lines are under
the Jack Smith Distribution License. However, it would be best if Jack
Smith were to take this up with the KDE team and not with every distro
that uses KDE.


If Gentoo starts second-guessing the licenses on packages, do we then
become liable if we fail to do this for a package?
 
Old 12-28-2009, 09:53 PM
"Robin H. Johnson"
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 05:15:06PM -0500, Richard Freeman wrote:
> On 12/28/2009 01:56 PM, Robin H. Johnson wrote:
> >Actually, this is a case where the license on the ebuild is wrong, not
> >the license group. The kernel ebuilds should have GPL-2 and something
> >else, and by definition should not pass @FSF-APPROVED alone.
> Is this appropriate? The kernel sources indicate that they are
> licensed under GPLv2, and they make no mention of other licenses for
> any component of the sources.
You're wrong there. The kernel does contain additional licenses, and
EXPLICITLY mentions them. Go and read 'firmware/WHENCE'.

The licenses listed therein range from use-permitted only
no-modification, to GPL-compliant and BSD-like.

> For that matter, for all we know kdelibs contains 10 lines of code
> from Jack Smith, who didn't agree to the LGPL and those 10 lines are
> under the Jack Smith Distribution License. However, it would be
> best if Jack Smith were to take this up with the KDE team and not
> with every distro that uses KDE.
I'm not concerned with a case such as the above. "Jack Smith" needs to
take it up with KDE.

> If Gentoo starts second-guessing the licenses on packages, do we
> then become liable if we fail to do this for a package?
There is no second-guessing. What I am concerned with is that Gentoo's
statement of licensing does not accurately reflect what licenses are on
the package.

--
Robin Hugh Johnson
Gentoo Linux: Developer, Trustee & Infrastructure Lead
E-Mail : robbat2@gentoo.org
GnuPG FP : 11AC BA4F 4778 E3F6 E4ED F38E B27B 944E 3488 4E85
 
Old 12-29-2009, 12:16 AM
Richard Freeman
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

On 12/28/2009 05:53 PM, Robin H. Johnson wrote:

You're wrong there. The kernel does contain additional licenses, and
EXPLICITLY mentions them. Go and read 'firmware/WHENCE'.

The licenses listed therein range from use-permitted only
no-modification, to GPL-compliant and BSD-like.



I stand corrected. Somebody should tell Linus that his readme/copying
is a bit misleading. They really shouldn't bury licenses in subdirectories.



There is no second-guessing. What I am concerned with is that Gentoo's
statement of licensing does not accurately reflect what licenses are on
the package.



Agreed - I think the key is for the package maintainer to ensure the
license is accurate, and if anybody notices a problem just file a bug.
I think the kernel is a bit of an oddball since the sources are so large
- most packages are much smaller and have a single license, and the
maintainer will probably be familiar enough to sort it out.
 
Old 12-29-2009, 04:24 AM
Vincent Launchbury
 
Default Non-free software in Gentoo

Rémi Cardona wrote:
> Unless people dedicate time and effort, ACCEPT_LICENSE is useless.

Well, I think an incomplete tool is better than no tool at all. Even
though it's far from perfect, I still found it very useful to create a
free system. I'm certainly interested in helping to improve it.

> I'd say this is probably better suited for gentoo-project, but it's
> probably ok to start here, to gauge interest

Thanks, I'll subscribe to gentoo-project also.


Jeremy Olexa wrote:
> File bugs mate. Licensing is not exactly clear to all users or devs. As
> can be seen here[1] for dos2unix. It sounds like you care in this area,
> so get involved.

That looks like a great starting point, thanks. The bug you mentioned
has been fixed already!


Robin H. Johnson wrote:
> The COPYRIGHT file in dos2unix is actually a 2-clause BSD license. I've
> updated the ebuild suitably.

Thanks, much appreciated.

> File a bug with some ebuilds.

It looks like somebody already has. See
http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=266157. I tested the latest
ebuild, and it worked fine (see comment #59.) What would have to be done
to get it in the main tree?

> A profile is not the answer here.
> An optional DEP block || ( media-fonts/corefonts ... ) where the other
> item does resolve using ACCEPT_LICENSES is what should be used.

I'll have to read through the devmanual, thanks for the pointer.

> In your case, I propose that we add one or more stacked groups, with an
> initial content as such...

I'll start working on expanding LIBRE-FREE-1 then. I assume a bug report
would be the correct place to suggest this when I've made a decent
start?
 

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