[consult] Call for Community Consultation - Software Repository

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Thu Jan 17 15:17:19 EST 2008

> > ARIN should be neutral as to license or indeed whether there is any 
> > license at all. ...
> Concur.  ARIN should be liberal in what it accepts.

Just how does liberal ARIN distribute commercial software on its
server without running afoul of the law? Sell it, I suppose. Or
maybe sign some kind of distribution agreement. Do we really want
to go there? 

That leaves open-source and public domain. The Open Source Initiative
has done all the heavy lifting on figuring out which licenses are
Open Source and which are not. If ARIN takes the trouble to make
sure that each so-called "open source" package is actually using 
a license approved by OSI, that makes the repository more useful.

Most of the potential users of such software work in companies
whose legal staff are interested in making sure that employees
only use software which they are properly licenced to use. OSI
approved licences fit the bill for internal use, and for incorporating
into products, the GPL versions are OK too as long as the employees
understand that there are obligations under those licenses.

And then we come to public domain software. This is a legal term which
refers to software with no copyright, but in order to have this 
status there needs to be a specific disclaimer of copyright.

I think that ARIN should steer clear of distributing any commercial
software, not even shareware. It would be OK to keep a registry
of such software that points to other sites which distribute it,
but that is all.

I think that, in addition to checking for OSI-approved licenses
and posting diffs on Open Source software, ARIN should also
check for a copyright disclaimer on any so-called public domain

If any package falls through the cracks and does not have
an approved OSI license or copyright disclaimer, then it
should not be distributed, only listed in the registry of

Most importantly, is that ARIN has to add some value, not just
be an open FTP site.

--Michael Dillon

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