Problems w/Squeak on Linux

Matej Kosik kosik at
Thu Feb 24 13:42:54 UTC 2005

Lex Spoon wrote:
> goran.krampe at wrote:
>>Matej Kosik <kosik at> wrote:
>>>PS: Why didn't we register Squeak _directly_ in Debian's package repository? (main/contrib/non-free).
>>IIRC that was a no, no because of their dislike of the indemnification
>>But that is just my vague recollection - may be wrong. Lex probably
> That's the killer reason it is not even in non-free.  There are also
> various reasons it is not in main -- e.g., because they don't like the
> export clause, and they don't like the font clause -- but who cares
> about main versus non-free?
> I spent a while arguing with the Debian guys about this on the
> debian-legal mailing list (which, as far as I can tell, is the only
> place to talk about such things).  The only reason to reject it from
> non-free, is that there is a legal risk in doing it.  However, is it a
> realistic risk that someone is going to sue Apple over Debian's
> involvment with Squeak... when they could have just sued Debian
> directly?  And if Apple does get sued -- over an open source program,
> that Apple has released for free, and has made no claims express or
> implied etc., and that Apple no longer has anything to do with -- if
> Apple does get sued, are they really going to pester Debian about it,
> even though they have made a self-image of championing open source
> software?  And even if they were that nasty, would they be so stupid as
> to offer to turn over their defense completely to Debian?  The clause
> requires this, and thus I can't imagine Apple ever trying to cash in on
> it.  And even if Apple does get sued over a product they have nothing to
> do with and that has no warranty express or implied, etc., and even if
> Apple is really that nasty *and* that stupid, what is wrong with Debian
> saying "yes, we'll defend the case ourselves, thank you". Since Debian
> could have been sued directly, doesn't this effectively put them back
> where they started?
> I AM NOT A LAWYER.  Just to be clear.  However, neither are any of the
> people I was arguing with.  Which just makes it triply annoying: they
> are bantering about around an obscure legal risk, when they don't know
> diddly about law to begin with.
> I'm sure Debian already does plenty of things much more legally
> dangerous than this.  I mean, what if Netscape sues them over some
> obscure clause in the mammoth MPL ?  What about all the questionable
> stuff floating around in the Linux kernel sources?  Why aren't they
> freaking out about these possibilities?  And who knows where, in the
> millions of lines of code they distribute, there might be a patent
> violation?
> At this point in the discussions, people start pointing out that maybe
> Apple will get sued even though Debian did nothing wrong (duh) and Apple
> did nothing wrong (duh, because Apple does nothing at all with Squeak,
> how could they do anything wrong?).  The answer to this is obvious: if
> you start worrying about frivolous lawsuits, you are hosed anyway.  You
> may as well stay home and do nothing.  If some awesome lawyer really
> tries to sue Debian into oblivion, they are not going to need an obscure
> indemnification clause to do it.
> Unfortunately, there's no way in Debian's org to get a real ruling on
> the matter, and so these packages are living off site still.  If someone
> has more time and energy than me, you may want to press ahead on it, by
> either quitting your job so that you can spat on debian-legal 40 hours a
> week, or by pushing for a general resolution, or by whatever other
> approach seems right.  Maybe it would make sense to broach these issues
> in general, e.g. how should Debian deal with *realistic* risk as opposed
> to *every possible* risk, or e.g., how should Debian deal with
> abandonware, where the license *can't* be changed?  Alternatively, maybe
> someone should try to bypass debian-legal and get a general resolution
> on Squeak.  Or, maybe someone should really get excited and try to
> propose a change to Debian's organization so that they actually have
> some sort of real decision-making process about what goes in or out.
> In my irritated moments, I wish someone had talked to the Squeak list
> before making the initial proclamation to debian-legal that there is a
> problem.  The first guy who mentioned Squeak to the Debian guys said
> basically "I see some problems, and I give up", without mentioning it on
> squeak-dev that I ever saw.  If he had come here first, we could have
> put together a better analysis and a better argument that Squeak should
> be in Debian.  Now, because of the ordering of things, the status quo is
> that Squeak is out... and in a sea of people who don't care and can't
> agree on anything, the status quo tends to stick around.
> In my optimistic moments, I expect the pendelum to swing back
> eventually.   For goodness' sake, Debian now rejects the Mozilla Public
> License and also the GNU Free Document License (GFDL).  How far will
> they go?  They used to be a Linux distribution.... but if they keep this
> up, they will not actually *distribute* anything!  There's a good chance
> that the general membership of Debian will object when this silliness
> reaches some threshold.  When that happens, either the criteria will be
> modified to something more reasonable, or people will fork into a more
> tolerant distribution.
> In the meantime, I have far better things to do with my time than go
> around in circles with those guys.  That battle is winable, I believe,
> because Debian exists to do things like distribute Squeak.  However, the
> energy and time required to convince them of what's in their own good,
> is extraordinary and could be better spent elsewhere.
> -Lex

A _future_ plan might be perhaps follows:

Let us count people which use Squeak on Debian. Let us all dedicate some amount of money and invest it purposely (not the time of all of us). If we raise a similar discussion on a proper forum with a dedicated laywer(s) and technically skilled people (or both) on our side, we could perhaps persuade the ignorant saboteurs hindering integration. We should organize a petition. We should write a manifest. 

Or, there are other options. Installation of Squeak on FreeBSD (I witnessed it on the computer of friend of mine) is quite reasonable

	cd ports/squeak
	make install
	# or something like this---I do not remember pricisely

We could perhaps point it out and argue. I am willing to dedicate some money for the sake of this affair. I am willing to donate part of (poor by my) wages. If "foreign transfer command" works (I did not yet try it) it would not take much time of us all except those specialists. A harder lobby is needed.
  icq: 300133844
skype: matej_kosik
phone: 0910-993-245

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list