SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

Anthony Towns aj at azure.humbug.org.au
Tue Jul 22 11:36:36 UTC 2003

On Mon, Jul 21, 2003 at 01:46:06PM -0500, Ean Schuessler wrote:
> I agree, in every way, that the goals of SPI are praiseworthy. I am not
> advocating that we abandon those goals. What I am noting, and you have
> failed to address, is the fact that SPI cannot perform any of these
> services in any realistic way except by using Debian's resources.

Uh, SPI already does things Debian cannot: SPI can accept tax-deductible
donations in the US, and limit the liability to its officers. These are
the reasons OFTC and Debian make use of SPI, and they're essentially the
defining characteristics of SPI. SPI's not about incubating free software
projects -- the times it's tried to do that, it's failed miserable (cf
Open Hardware, or even the LSB and OSI) -- it's purpose is to support
existing free software projects.

> It is
> entertaining to dream of a SPI that has its own resources that are
> greater than Debian's but that SPI does not exist. I think it is time
> that we recognize that Debian will foot the bill if any of these legal
> adventures go awry.

SPI is the mechanism by which Debian pays for things it values,
whether they be domain registrations, debian conferences, or legal
adventures; neither more nor less. Debian will foot the bill for these
"legal adventures" if, and only if, it wants to undertake them in the
first place.

> Again, I reiterate my earlier point. The services that SPI claims to
> provide cannot be provided without Debian's resources. The copyrights
> SPI has pledged to hold and defend will have to be defended with Debian
> money if it ever comes to legal blows. 

Or defended with moneys donated by the project for whom the copyrights are
held. Or defended on a no-win-no-fee or pro-bono basis. Or not defended
at all. I don't think it's appropriate for SPI to be committing the funds
it holds in Debian's name to defend OFTC trademarks. Or the converse.


Anthony Towns <aj at humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

       ``Is this some kind of psych test?
                      Am I getting paid for this?''
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