Friday, 2015-03-13

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fontanaA Prominent Open Source Attorney (POSA) has asserted that the Guide is incorrect in what it says about warranty disclaimers. The POSA may be correct so I plan on submitting a patch to address the issue.12:03
bkuhnfontana: FWIW, the material on Warranty Disclaimers was written with Dan Ravicher's help, but the material is admittedly 10 years old.12:04
bkuhnfontana: meanwhile, why is this POSA refusing to help himself.12:05
fontanabkuhn: If the POSA is correct  then it would have been incorrect back then too.12:05
fontanabkuhn: Perhaps the POSA thinks it is more profitable to be able to point out the purported mistake.12:05
fontanaI mean to be able to point out the mistake to others while it persists in the Guide.12:06
bkuhnfontana: could you tell me the exact issue, NOW, please?12:09
fontanaNow? sure...12:09
bkuhnIf it's wrong, it should be fixed.12:09
* fontana checks to see what the POSA said...12:09
bkuhnIf it's not wrong12:09
bkuhnCan you anonymously past it here?12:09
bkuhnor non-anonymously.12:09
fontanaAlso mentioned by name is the warranty disclaimer. Most people today do not believe that software comes with any warranty. Notwithstanding Maryland's and Virginia's UCITA bills, there are few or no implied warranties with software. However, just to be on the safe side, GPL clearly disclaims them, and the12:10
fontanaGPL requires re-distributors to keep the disclaimer very visible. (See Sections 8.3 and 8.4 of this tutorial for more on GPL's warranty disclaimers.)12:10
bkuhnThis seems pretty nasty politics for someone to say negative things about without telling us there's an error so we can correct it (if there is actually an error)12:10
fontanaPOSA says the statement is "completely wrong".12:10
bkuhnfontana: so, I first want to be clear that when I say POSA, I mean  Purported  Open Source Attorney....12:15
bkuhn... someone who clandestinely attacks Free Software projects in this kind of cowardly way doesn't deserve to be called prominent.12:16
bkuhnfontana: But, to say something is completely wrong and not offer improvement is useless.12:16
bkuhnDoes he say anything else?12:16
bkuhn(And yes, I know it's a he)12:16
fontanabkuhn: well not really12:16
bkuhnfontana: do you think it's wrong.12:17
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fontanabkuhn: the statement "there are few or no implied warranties with software" is clearly wrong12:18
bkuhnfontana: to you as well?12:18
fontanato that extent I agree with the POSA12:18
bkuhnfontana: ok, can you write me a few paragraphs to correct?12:19
bkuhnDan is the one that told me this, Dan could have been wrong.12:19
fontanabkuhn: sure, I plan on doing that.12:19
bkuhnI remember sending that paragraph to Dan and him telling me it was accurate12:19
fontanaYeah, Dan probably had no experience in that area of the law, understandably :)12:19
bkuhnbut it could have been an error, Dan isn't prefect.12:19
bkuhnfontana: ok, can you do it now?12:19
fontanabkuhn: No, I have to focus on TPS Report stuff.12:19
bkuhnfontana: ok, I've asked keynote2k to help12:19
bkuhnbut if you can help when you get a chance12:20
fontanabkuhn: sure12:20
karenbkuhn, fontana when we've fixed that portion of the text, is it ok for me to email that POSA and ask him if he has any further areas to point out?12:22
fontanakaren: I do not wish to publicly disclose who the POSA is. I just wanted to point out that there's a POSA who has made this argument.12:23
karenright fontana: I'm talking about private email to this peson12:24
karenletting him know that we heard he had some issues, so we made some edit12:25
karenwould love his engagement with the process12:25
fontanaThe POSA could perhaps submit a merge request using Microsoft Word12:25
fontanakaren: This POSA and another POSA have been giving presentations on the Conservancy and SFLC compliance guides12:26
karenfontana: great! so you think it's ok for me to contact him directly12:29
karenfontana: it would be useful to have that person even just point out areas he thinks could be improved, even if he doesn't have the inclination to do so himself12:30
fontanakaren: I think it probably would be but maybe I should try to write a patch to address this issue first and see if bkuhn wishes to merge those changes12:30
karenthat is the point of editing this document in an ongoing way12:30
karensounds good fontana12:31
bkuhnYeah, I'm prepared to urgently merge a fix for this.  If there is something wrong, we should fix it right away.12:31
karenand I'll do my best to engage this person in our process after that12:31
fontanabkuhn: once I make some progress with my TPS reports I'll be able to focus on that12:32
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johnsu01perhaps we should have a way to flag sections as "actively under discussion"13:19
johnsu01changing color of text, putting in brackets, or the like13:20
johnsu01we know that the whole document is actively under discussion, but when specific issues like this come up maybe something like that makes sense13:20
bkuhnjohnsu01: I mean, I could commit a change quickly that makes such a change.13:31
bkuhnI think the bigger problem here, which I'll just say explicitly, is that there are people out there using this text as a way of calling into question FSF's and Conservancy's authority on the subject and are therefore, instead of giving us feedback directly to let us know about errors, they are using such errors to say: "See, you can't rely on this document"13:33
bkuhnAs long as there are nefarious people out there doing that, I think we're going to have a problem.13:33
bkuhn(Even if we implement something to note that some text is being worked on)13:33
johnsu01I think a note helps diffuse that, if the person is giving presentations and people go and look at the original text, then that person will need to adjust their presentation13:34
bkuhnhm, maybe.13:36
bkuhnthe problem is we don't know the errors rae.13:36
johnsu01I wouldn't call it nefarious necessarily (knowing only what's been said above) -- I don't think we can reasonbaly expect everyone to report every bug to the right place any more than we can expect that with software13:36
bkuhnThis is akin to highlighting all code that might have a bug.13:36
bkuhnAll code might have bugs!13:36
bkuhnjohnsu01: haha, we both went to the bug analogy at once.13:36
johnsu01sure, but here we are discussing this specific section, and we know that someone is criticizing it13:36
johnsu01that is information we can convey13:36
johnsu01even though, yes, to us, the whole document is under discussion constantly13:37
bkuhnjohnsu01: So, fontana doesn't want to disclose who the POSA is, but I have been told privately who it is, and it's someone who defends GPL violators for a living.  And has previously done similar actions (given presentations claiming things about Conservancy that weren't true)13:37
bkuhnSo, the motives are nefarious in *this* case.  In other cases, you're right.13:37
bkuhnjohnsu01: yeah, I mean, I'm scrambling to improve this particular section in the next hour or so.13:38
bkuhnso, it's not worth that solution here.13:38
bkuhnjohnsu01: maybe something really simple.  When I add a %FIXME comment, perhaps I should highlight the nearby text in red?13:39
johnsu01bkuhn: that seems good, yeah13:39
bkuhnand maybe say at the top: "Text highlighted in red is known to need some improvements.  We encourage people to in particular offer improvements to such text"13:39
bkuhnThat said13:39
bkuhnI don't really put any text in master that I don't think is right.13:40
bkuhnFor example, this text in question was reviewed by Dan Ravicher.13:40
johnsu01I guess I mean more "under active discussion" rather than "known to need improvements"13:40
bkuhnMaybe he made a mistake.13:40
bkuhnyeah, agreed, re: under active discussion...13:40
johnsu01basically going back to the gplv3 heat map here :)13:40
bkuhnotoh, there isn't very much active discussion13:40
bkuhn"protracted discussion" is probably correct. :)13:40
bkuhnjohnsu01: I also think the POSA in question doesn't really understand what a document under constant revision is.13:48
johnsu01bkuhn: I think most of the world's population is in that category :)13:48
bkuhnIn other words, old school law firm types can't actually wrap their brains around the idea that people might develop something in public transparently.13:48
bkuhnparticularly something that constitutes opinions about policy matters.13:48
johnsu01we don't have an issue tracker right? so only way to report issues is message to mailing list or git pull request?13:48
bkuhnjohnsu01: or here, yeah.13:49
bkuhnjohnsu01: could FSF set up an RT queue, perhpas?13:49
bkuhnThat might be an initial help.13:49
bkuhnKallithea doesn't have an issue tracker yet13:49
bkuhnand we're likely switching to Kallithea before the Gitorious Apocalypse.13:49
Calinouwhy not Notabug? ;)13:49
johnsu01bkuhn: that's a possibility, this year we will be upgrading RT and as part of that I hope to have it linked to our generic FSF login system and also to have some public queues. right now though we have to manage the access list manually so it's not a great solution13:50
bkuhnjohnsu01: understood.  Sorry to put FSF on the spot with that question.  Both Conservancy and FSF have limited resources, that's fully understood by me and hopefully other contributors here. :)13:51
bkuhnIt was just a quick idea of an easy solution.13:51
bkuhnAt this point, our "bug list" is "submit a patch with FIXME in it" or post to the mailing list or mention it on IRC.13:51
bkuhnWe've got limited ability to maintain infrastructure, and with Gitorious going away, we suddenly have to maintain infrastructure we didn't think we needed.  I'm swayed by paroneayea 's arguments that self-hosting is the only safe solution now.13:52
bkuhns/we needed/we needed to handle ourselves as a project/13:52
johnsu01bkuhn: oh, no worries about on the spot, it's a good idea13:53
johnsu01we're looking at solutions for publishing some FSF code right now too, I'll keep this in mind..13:58
bkuhnkeep which in mind?14:05
johnsu01bkuhn: issue tracker, and maybe a backup hosting possibility for the git repo14:11
bkuhnjohnsu01: oh interesting.14:12
bkuhnI'm starting a thread now about the Gitorious Apocalypse on discuss@ now... you can comment there on either if you are so inclined.14:12
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fontanabkuhn: either you or I hung up17:35
bkuhnfontana: signal dropped, I think.17:35
fontanaor that.17:35
bkuhnfontana: anyway, I'm about to push something into master now, as I was telling you on the phone.17:35
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bkuhndo you want to see it first?17:35
fontanabkuhn: no, I don't have to see it first17:35
* fontana notes that the foregoing exchange would not be an adequate HBR cure :)17:36
bkuhnfontana: HBR cure is: I asked you if you had time to look at the patch and wanted to review it first and tha tit related to what we talked about earlire.17:38
fontanaokay that is an adequate HBR cure17:38
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bkuhnDarn lost fontana. :)18:20
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paroneayeabkuhn: I think it may be more complicated than "self hosting is the only safe solution" in that I kind of agree with Mike's points that small servers can going down can be just as bad, maybe worse in some ways, but I ceratinly don't trust any big hosts anymore22:45
paroneayeabkuhn: I think maybe at this point the "d"vcs part doesn't just pertain to a need for a repo format anymore22:46
paroneayeabut getting that d to grow beyond there, obviously a big task22:46
paroneayeafor now, self-hosting still a big improvement :)23:00
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