[lsb-discuss] LSB conf call notes for 2008-07-30

R P Herrold herrold at owlriver.com
Mon Aug 11 11:00:42 PDT 2008

On Sat, 9 Aug 2008, Dalibor Topic wrote:

> On 08/08/08 21:28, R P Herrold wrote:
>> On Fri, 8 Aug 2008, Theodore Tso wrote:

>>> (And if Sun's lawyers decide to go after those 
>>> distributions with scarry cease-or-we- 
>>> sue-the-pants-off-of-you letters, particularly with 
>>> non-commercial distro's such as Gentoo, Debian, etc. --- 
>>> the LSB wouldn't be involved, and we can just stand back 
>>> and watch the Slashdot bonfire from a distance.  :-)

>> So, exposing people to an NDA, and potentially unlimited 
>> liability, and defense costs, in order to be be able to 
>> test and demonstrate their distribution is LSB complaint is 
>> fine?

> I believe Ted was joking, judging by the smiley he used - 
> Sun hasn't done unspeakable things in the past,

Ted speaks for himself, as do I.  I add no smiley, as the 
issues seem real to me, and have seemed real to others in the 

Microsoft and Kodak may disagree as to 'unspeakable things 
in the past'; I do not defend them (Microsoft nor Kodak) here. 
but clearly Sun has lawyers and knows its way to the 
courthouse in a Java license context.

The presence of the cited clauses is my concern.  If they are 
removed or restricted, the factual landscape may change.

> and given that it has collaborated with the Java libre 
> community (centered around gcj, kaffe, GNU Classpath and 
> various community distributions) in the past around Java, 
> OpenJDK, etc. it'd seem like a very unlikely, smiley worthy 
> scenario.

Good works, as I see them, and on the road to competing on the 
merits rather than through intellectual properly gamesmanship.

>> I think not.  I think the LSB cannot in good conscience 
>> place distributions in the line of fire, until and unless 
>> the testing tool is not a 'spring gun'.

> I don't understand the term 'spring gun' - could you elaborate?

A first year law school concept, taught in 'Criminal Law' -- 
for the nasty details.

The takeaway I had in mind is that one cannot knowingly set a 
hazard on one's property, and expect to be ratified as 
'blameless' when it later injures another.  The analogy I was 
striving for was that the LSB should not be in the business of 
adding a path which adds risk (whether say, indemnification of 
Sun, or (choosing a harmless example) an infringement of 
another's patent [think the old RSA 'product of two primes' 
encryption algorithm freed 6 Sept 2000]) to a proposed 
certifying distribution.

Dalibor -- I'll be in touch separately as to some changes in 
Sun's licenses, which I would hope could be considered, to 
make Sun even more FOSS friendly.

-- Russ herrold

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