[sf-lug] Ubuntu vs. Mandriva

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 27 20:56:35 PDT 2008

Quoting Ernest De Leon (edeleonjr at gmail.com):

> I actually read it and wondered why they didn't just GPL the code until I
> realized that there were some proprietary pieces in there that they did not
> have the rights to GPL, not to mention some pieces that were in some of
> their other proprietary products that they didn't want to GPL because it
> would have retroactively caused them to have to GPL the source of those
> proprietary products. 
> That, in turn, caused them to release a skewed license
> where they could release modifications made by the community however they
> wished but did not allow the community to do the same.

You _still_ have it all wrong.  NPL was fully an open source / free
software licence.  FSF specifically and publicly agreed on that point,
by the way, which you could look up if so moved.

> Lastly, I would agree with you that over decades there may not have been
> much in the way of a correlation between innovation and userbase, but in the
> couple of years, I would say that innovation has been the main factor for
> user base growth. 

Funny:  I just got through pointing out that large user bases have
consistently failed to drive innovation.  You now [non-]reply by saying
"Well, innovation drives user bases."  That may or may not be true, but
is utterly non-sequitur to what I just said.

> As a matter of fact, it is precisely because of this swell in the
> adoption of FOSS that new business models have emerged to support the
> open-source community. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Oh really?  Name one.  (Perhaps your perception of what is "new" differs
from mine.  I don't think you'll be telling me of anything _actually_ new,
and will not be holding my breath, but it's conceivable you could
surprise me.)

Anyway, as it turns out, we're not quite done:

Alice and Bob, a couple who are habitues of many fine cryptography
texts' examples of MitM attack methods, etc.[1], are (hypothetical)
subscribers to SF-LUG's mailing list -- assumed for the sake of
discussion to have been modfied to munge Reply-To.  One fine day, Alice
posts a public posting that Bob finds particularly winning, but one of
her turns of phrase reminds him of a rather more serious matter he needs
to discuss with her.  So, Bob hits "r" in his MUA, and composes a
private mail:

   "The test results for Carol arrived today, and I'm afraid it's bad.
   As we feared, she's positive for the IT15 gene, which puts her at
   risk for Huntington's chorea.  Because Carol works for Bigco, which
   is infamous for laying off employees with long-term health risks, 
   we're going to have to carefully keep the possibility quiet."

A few minutes later, Bob to his horror receives a copy of this intensely
private communication from sf-lug at linuxmafia.com, which he realises
means that dozens of strangers are also getting copies, and, worse,
means his comments are now publicly archived on the Web, likely to be
found by Bigco staffers either looking up colleagues or searching for
mentions of their firm.  He double-checks his sent-mail folder, and is
further horrified to note that his mail _did_ in fact somehow get
addressed to sf-lug at linuxmafia.com, even though he's absolutely
double-certain that he used "r", which everything in his experience --
including, possibly, his scrupulous reading of the SMTP RFCs -- told him
should have sent the mail to Alice alone.

He expresses his horror and panic to the rest of the mailing list, and
also to Jim and lx_rudis as listadmins.  Jim and lx_rudis cannot un-send
his mail, nor can they even remove that posting from the archives.  (For
the latter, they'd need my manual help, and it's a bit of an involved

And how would everyone else react?  With sympathy, of course.  _However_,
based on seeing this _sort_ of thing (usually causing only extreme
embarrassment rather than endangering someone's career) happen regularly
on mailing lists afflicted with Reply-To: munging, I have _never_, not
even once, seen the proponents who urged that munging accept
responsibility for its direct consequences.

That is, I've never, not in twenty years, seen someone who's agitated
for such munging say "Man, I really owe a thousand apologies to Alice,
Bob, and Carol, since this catastrophe is to a large degree my fault."
No, instead I see proponents acting completely clueless about it having
anything to do with them whatsoever, and making no comment except maybe
that Bob "should be more careful about where he's sending mail."

Shooting other people in the foot and then immediately ducking
responsibility just never impresses me.  Funny that way, I guess.

_Now_, we're done.

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