[consult] Call for Community Consultation - Software Repository

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Fri Jan 18 04:03:21 EST 2008

> In the case of commercial software, a 
> representative of the software author who has apparent 
> authority to make such policy decisions (read: VP or C*O type 
> title if a corporation) could very easily decide to put the 
> previous version of the software or a cripple/nag/share-ware 
> version up with ARIN and still maintain their ability to make 
> money on the current or full featured version.

As far as I'm concerned, if ARIN is negotiating with a VP or
C*O from a commercial software company, that pretty much
implies that they are making a distribution agreement. The
key point is that ARIN can then make it clear, on the site,
what the licencing terms are for the software. 

> > 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.
> No, it does not, it excludes commercial software, making the 
> archive less complete and thus less useful.

No it does not. If a software package is "open source" that does not
exclude it from being commercial software as well. In any case, 
I am *NOT* suggesting that ARIN excludes commercial software. 
I *AM* suggesting that if a package makes the claim to be "open source"
then ARIN should make some effort to verify the claim. If the software
has an OSI-approved license, that is sufficient evidence that it is
indeed open-source software.

> My understanding is that in the US, no specific disclaimer or 
> registration is necessary for a work to be in the public 
> domain,

In March 1989, the USA signed the Berne convention which means
that all works published in the USA have copyright whether or
not there is a copyright notice attached. To be certain that
a work is in the public domain, it needs to have a disclaimer
that states that it is not copyrighted.

> > 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 software.
> >
> > 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 packages.
> I am against having ARIN push a political agenda outside of 
> its charter (stewardship of Internet number resources), 
> particularly one that is biased against commercial software.

Making sure of the legality of distribution, and the terms
under which the software can be used by others, is not pushing
a political agenda. It is pushing an agenda of CLARITY and making
sure that ARIN does not mislead people by omission. It is the
U.S. legal system which forces the bias against commercial
software because ARIN has no right to distribute it, and users
have no right to use it, unless they comply with the terms of
the owner. Open source software happens to be simpler in terms
of legality, but it is still necessary to verify that its legal
status is indeed clearly "open source".

> The value is in providing one-stop shopping for software that 
> does stuff with ARIN resources.

I already have a one-stop shopping service for such software. 
It's called the Internet. ARIN has to add some value above and
beyond storage and file transfer and search engine reachability.

--Michael Dillon

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