Debian’s Central Role in the Future of Software Freedom

Bradley M. Kuhn

Saturday 15 August 2015

First Things First.

It’s This Simple!

(Photo is the combined registration line & impromptu keysigning party at DebConf1)

DebConf 1

DebConf 1

OTOH, most of the time, Martin still does look at me with that face that says: “You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?” :)

DebConf 1

Anyway, what certainly hasn’t changed since DebConf 1 is the ethos of contributors, especially in Debian.

Morality of the Hobbyist Contributor

Debian as a charitable endeavor

… Bruce Perens spearheaded the effort to create Software in the Public Interest, Inc. — [o]riginally intended to provide the Debian Project with a legal entity capable of accepting donations.

A Brief History of Debian

Debian as a charitable endeavor

Debian was sponsored by the GNU Project of The Free Software Foundation … for one year – from November 1994 to November 1995.

A Brief History of Debian

From Our Humble Beginnings

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu)

— Linus Torvalds, Sunday 25 August 1991

From Our Humble Beginnings

Thus, the charitable tendencies of GNU, FSF, Debian, and (more recently) SPI and Conservancy were and remain perfect fit for creating, fostering, and defending democratic, developer-run community projects which are (mostly) under copyleft licenses.

How Things Have Changed

How Linux has Changed

To navigate the ever-changing landscape of Linux, it helps to have someone who can point you in the right direction. That’s where The Linux Foundation comes in. … [Among] Benefits of Linux Foundation [Paid] Membership: The right to vote … The right to participate

Website of Linux Foundation (Linus’ employer)

How Linux Has Changed

Conservancy’s GPL Enforcement

VMware Lawsuit Here in Germany

VMware Suit Draws Battle Lines

Even Debian’s Downstreams Violate GPL

Toughest Challenges Are To Come

Dark and difficult times lie ahead … Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

— Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Debian Matters!

Debian Matters!

What Is Debian?

What Is Copyleft?

Using CAA’s for Good

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Self-Reliance

Surprising Changes Happen

The Copyleft Burden

Zack is the first

Zack is why!

I urged Conservancy to work with Debian to create this program. Being a copyright owner on Free Software code is a privilege, but also a huge responsibility. Debian Developers have asked me for years a way to make sure some charity they can trust looked after their hard work and ensured Free Software licenses were upheld. Conservancy is the best partner I can imagine for this job.

— Dr. Stefano “Zack” Zacchiroli

Zack isn’t alone.

Paul Tagliamonte (paultag) has assigned a few (not all) of his Debian works to Conservancy via the configurable ©AA.

Zack isn’t alone.

Aggregating copyright in Debian is a necessary step in ensuring the continuity of a truely maintainable Distribution, and ensure we are able to defend our works against infringement after people have left the project.

— Paul Tagliamonte

Zack & paultag aren’t alone.

But, if you still hate ©AAs …

What Else Does Debian Get?

What More Can I Say?

What More Can I Say?

More Info / Talk License

Presentation and slides are: Copyright © 2015 Bradley M. Kuhn, and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Some images included herein are ©’ed by others. I believe my use of those images is fair use under USA © law. However, I suggest you remove such images if you redistribute these slides under CC-By-SA 4.0.