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Future direction of rstat.us development

Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Carol Nichols
Date:
2012-01-07 @ 20:53
Hi all rstat.us-ians,

As you may or may not know, Steve Klabnik has recently given me the keys to
rstat.us and I wanted to talk with you all about where this bus should go!

Greg Brown (founder of Mendicant University [1], among other things)
reached out to me because he thinks rstat.us is an important project in
this day and age as an open source social network with a focus on
distribution, access to your data, simplicity, and ease of use.

Because of its importance and because this project aligns with the
philosophy of MU and may be a project that MU alumni would like to work on
during project months, Greg has some suggestions on how to make the project
more friendly to new contributors and take it to the next level on the open
source project maturity continuum (And as I say that I hope it never
becomes like CMMI)

I think the suggestions are good ones but I wanted to discuss them with the
rstat.us community before unilaterally starting to enact them. I'd love to
have your feedback, thoughts, further suggestions, etc.

Greg, please weigh in if I've forgotten anything we talked about. In many
cases I've thought about your suggestions and added thoughts of my own.

1. Change the license from WTFPL to something with more explicit
protections and wider community usage. I personally tend to go with MIT for
my projects, but I'm up for debate on this: BSD, CC0, others?

2. README/documentation - make the project more welcoming to potential
contributors by:
    - Adding a section about the philosophy behind rstat.us (probably a
blend of the ideas expressed on the rstat.us homepage and some blog posts
of Steve's [2][3])
    - Remove statements whose tone might be off-putting, such as (re:
running one's own node) "If you need help with this, then you're not ready
to run one."
    - More explicit documentation on setting up your system for development
    - Add/update the code documentation (many of the pages in the rocco
docs [4] don't work or don't have much)
    - Regenerate the documentation more often (ideally automatically) It
looks like it hasn't been regenerated since April 2011.
    - Make clear what happens when you submit a pull request or issue and
execute on that, which involves further discussion on what that is ;) (I
personally feel nervous about submitting pull requests into the void and I
always appreciate someone at least saying they're looking at it so that I
know it's been noticed, so that's why I've included this one here)

3. Roadmap for development (and once we've decided what the roadmap should
be, make it visible with its current status and execute on it)
    - Fix or disable anything that seems "broken" from an end user's point
of view, like Issues 421, 418, 404, 368/394 (Timeline: In the near future,
I'd say next few weeks if it's just me, there are some things that I'd
rather fix than disable)
    - Fix bugs with the OStatus protocol like Issues 387 and 388 (Timeline:
probably a few months unless wilkie helps, I don't think anyone else knows
the protocol as well ;)
    - A real RESTful API to enable the development of clients/integration
with other services (Timeline: luckily Steve and his upcoming not-a-book
will help me learn what this entails, but probably a few months if it's
just me)
    - Running your own node, which involves: actually trying it out, fixing
any issues that arise and documenting the process (Hard to say considering
I don't know how this will go, and connecting the nodes probably depends on
fixing the OStatus issues, so probably closer to 6-ish months if it's just
me)

I'm planning on publicizing this thread and then publicizing the ensuing
road map, I would love to get another big push of development from anyone
who would like to help!

-Carol

[1] - http://mendicantuniversity.org/ I am part of the MU alumni network
and Steve is a special friend of the program.
[2] - http://blog.steveklabnik.com/posts/2011-03-23-announcing-rstat-us
[3] -

http://blog.steveklabnik.com/posts/2011-07-24-twitter-is-to-important-to-be-owned-by-twitter
[4] - http://hotsh.github.com/rstat.us/rstatus.html

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Steve Klabnik
Date:
2012-01-07 @ 21:02
> As you may or may not know, Steve Klabnik has recently given me the keys to
> rstat.us and I wanted to talk with you all about where this bus should go!

I just wanted to mention that I did this in the sense of giving carol
access to all of the deployment infrastructure. I didn't want to be a
bottleneck in this anymore, as I don't really forsee myself
contributing in a significant way in the future. I don't mean to imply
'lolz, Carol's now in charge because I say so,' but since she's the
person who's contributed the most over the past few months, it seemed
easiest to give it to her.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Carol Nichols
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 13:39
Anyone? Bueller? No one even wants to have a religious war about the
license? ;)

- Carol
On Jan 7, 2012 4:02 PM, "Steve Klabnik" <steve@steveklabnik.com> wrote:

> > As you may or may not know, Steve Klabnik has recently given me the keys
> to
> > rstat.us and I wanted to talk with you all about where this bus should
> go!
>
> I just wanted to mention that I did this in the sense of giving carol
> access to all of the deployment infrastructure. I didn't want to be a
> bottleneck in this anymore, as I don't really forsee myself
> contributing in a significant way in the future. I don't mean to imply
> 'lolz, Carol's now in charge because I say so,' but since she's the
> person who's contributed the most over the past few months, it seemed
> easiest to give it to her.
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Michael Stevens
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 13:41
Personally I've always been a big fan of the GPL...

On Mon, Jan 09, 2012 at 08:39:35AM -0500, Carol Nichols wrote:
> Anyone? Bueller? No one even wants to have a religious war about the
> license? ;)
> 
> - Carol
> On Jan 7, 2012 4:02 PM, "Steve Klabnik" <steve@steveklabnik.com> wrote:
> 
> > > As you may or may not know, Steve Klabnik has recently given me the keys
> > to
> > > rstat.us and I wanted to talk with you all about where this bus should
> > go!
> >
> > I just wanted to mention that I did this in the sense of giving carol
> > access to all of the deployment infrastructure. I didn't want to be a
> > bottleneck in this anymore, as I don't really forsee myself
> > contributing in a significant way in the future. I don't mean to imply
> > 'lolz, Carol's now in charge because I say so,' but since she's the
> > person who's contributed the most over the past few months, it seemed
> > easiest to give it to her.
> >

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Piotr Szotkowski
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 15:01
Michael Stevens:

> On Mon, Jan 09, 2012 at 08:39:35AM -0500, Carol Nichols wrote:

>> No one even wants to have a religious war about the license? ;)

> Personally I've always been a big fan of the GPL...

I don’t think GPL makes much sense for web stuff;
IMHO it should be either AGPL (let’s help FLOSS!)
or MIT/BSD (let’s be (ab)useful to everyone!).

— Piotr the-drums-always-beat-slowly-at-first Szotkowski
-- 
Just discovered git rebase --interactive --autosquash.
Holy shit. Will never again need to do any work.
                                          [Tom Stuart]


Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 16:08
On 1/9/12 10:01 AM, Piotr Szotkowski wrote:
> Michael Stevens:
>
>> On Mon, Jan 09, 2012 at 08:39:35AM -0500, Carol Nichols wrote:
>
>>> No one even wants to have a religious war about the license? ;)
>
>> Personally I've always been a big fan of the GPL...
>
> I don’t think GPL makes much sense for web stuff;
> IMHO it should be either AGPL (let’s help FLOSS!)
> or MIT/BSD (let’s be (ab)useful to everyone!).

I agree. AGPL makes a political statement for OSS and makes it 
reasonably hard for someone to just rebrand your code and pass it off as 
their own, but it comes with the cost of carefully selecting your 
dependencies to make sure they are AGPL compatible, and may discourage 
some would-be contributors. Still, if you want a GPL-flavored license, 
AGPL is the one to use for the web.

MIT/BSD is generally uncontroversial, but won't guarantee that code 
contributed to rstat.us remains in free software projects only. This too 
will turn away certain kinds of contributors, but they are more rare, 
because MIT/BSD on their own are GPL compatible free software licenses.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Lindsey Bieda
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:01
I'm not so sure how easy it will be to change the license to AGPL or
BSD/MIT considering it is already under WTFPL and presumably we would have
to get every contributor to sign off on changing the license.

I strongly encourage sticking with WTFPL, not only because of the
difficulties in switching, but because it gets away from a lot of the nasty
politics behind other licenses. WTFPL already gives a maximum amount of
freedom as far as licensing goes.

- Lindsey

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 11:08 AM, Gregory Brown <
gregory_brown@letterboxes.org> wrote:

> On 1/9/12 10:01 AM, Piotr Szotkowski wrote:
> > Michael Stevens:
> >
> >> On Mon, Jan 09, 2012 at 08:39:35AM -0500, Carol Nichols wrote:
> >
> >>> No one even wants to have a religious war about the license? ;)
> >
> >> Personally I've always been a big fan of the GPL...
> >
> > I don’t think GPL makes much sense for web stuff;
> > IMHO it should be either AGPL (let’s help FLOSS!)
> > or MIT/BSD (let’s be (ab)useful to everyone!).
>
> I agree. AGPL makes a political statement for OSS and makes it
> reasonably hard for someone to just rebrand your code and pass it off as
> their own, but it comes with the cost of carefully selecting your
> dependencies to make sure they are AGPL compatible, and may discourage
> some would-be contributors. Still, if you want a GPL-flavored license,
> AGPL is the one to use for the web.
>
> MIT/BSD is generally uncontroversial, but won't guarantee that code
> contributed to rstat.us remains in free software projects only. This too
> will turn away certain kinds of contributors, but they are more rare,
> because MIT/BSD on their own are GPL compatible free software licenses.
>
> -greg
>
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Steve Klabnik
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:22
> I'm not so sure how easy it will be to change the license to AGPL or BSD/MIT
> considering it is already under WTFPL and presumably we would have to get
> every contributor to sign off on changing the license.

You wouldn't need to do this, as relicensing is permitted by the license.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Lindsey Bieda
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:31
You are forgetting that the copyright wasn't transferred. So the copyright
is the commiters'.

On Jan 9, 2012, at 3:22 PM, Steve Klabnik <steve@steveklabnik.com> wrote:

>> I'm not so sure how easy it will be to change the license to AGPL or BSD/MIT
>> considering it is already under WTFPL and presumably we would have to get
>> every contributor to sign off on changing the license.
> 
> You wouldn't need to do this, as relicensing is permitted by the license.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Steve Klabnik
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:34
Sure. But they've provided code to us under a license that says "do
whatever you want." They retain original copyright, but we can also do
what we want with their contribution.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:36
On 1/9/12 3:34 PM, Steve Klabnik wrote:
> Sure. But they've provided code to us under a license that says "do
> whatever you want." They retain original copyright, but we can also do
> what we want with their contribution.

That's my understanding as well.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Dave Wilkinson
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:48
Licensing. I'll contribute to this discussion. I'll keep it as religious as
possible. ;)

You mention replacing the WTFPL with another license. There is only one
reason to do this, from a legal standpoint: increase copyright protection.
However, such protections may be unnecessary and actually negatively impact
the community involvement. Our original logic behind the WTFPL is that we
simply do not care about the protection of our labor. Why? Well, because
being duplicated, forked, and 'stolen' from actually helps our cause. That
is, we want to be spread as far as possible without anybody ever worrying
or considering legal repercussions.

While the WTFPL implies a license change to be trivial, to change the
license in a manner that would not be suspect would require, as Lindsey
indicated, the approval of every contributor to the project since no
copyright transfer has been legally provided to a single entity. By US (and
international) copyright law, implicit copyright is granted to the
committer. The lax terms of the WTFPL cannot truly counter this, or at
least I don't trust this logic. This is why, for instance, much of the
Linux kernel remains GPL2. To get around this, copyright law and the WTFPL
technically allow you the opportunity to fork the project under a different
name. Which serves no clear advantage.

The terms of the WTFPL are free, FSF-approved, GPL-compatible, and do
certainly promote the values on which rstatus was founded. It is the
software equivalent to the CC-0 license which _is not a software license_.
The downside of the WTFPL is only in the circumstance where it is
considered a public domain license in countries that do not respect them.
In my opinion, this does not outweigh its benefits. This flaw also applies
to the CC-0 license. Also, both public domain licenses are without a legal
precedent in the software field. This doesn't matter that much when you
don't care about attribution, which is probably why it remains uncontested.

If you want the CC-0 license for software... you use the WTFPL. That's what
we wanted. That's what we used. I'd recommend keeping it that way unless
somebody really comes up with an awesomely good reason to get deep into the
legal mess we'd probably all rather avoid. :)

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:36 PM, Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org
> wrote:

> On 1/9/12 3:34 PM, Steve Klabnik wrote:
> > Sure. But they've provided code to us under a license that says "do
> > whatever you want." They retain original copyright, but we can also do
> > what we want with their contribution.
>
> That's my understanding as well.
>
> -greg
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:58
On 1/9/12 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> If you want the CC-0 license for software... you use the WTFPL. That's
> what we wanted. That's what we used. I'd recommend keeping it that way
> unless somebody really comes up with an awesomely good reason to get
> deep into the legal mess we'd probably all rather avoid. :)

What specifically does MIT/BSD licensing take away that you specifically 
want to provide for people?

I think I already made a strong case for why the license change is 
important:

- WTFPL is not a widely used license at all, I cannot name a single 
project that I consider important which uses it. Can someone point me at 
even one?

- Future contributors may be turned off by the license choice, because 
simple things like wanting attribution and wanting people not to use 
your name to promote their work are important even to folks who care a 
lot about being maximally permissive.

- Most people prefer not to have to think about licensing. While that's 
what WTFPL may be *intended* to provide, it creates more confusion than 
it clarifies and suffers from all the same problems of saying "This work 
is released into the public domain", but with two added issues: 1) it 
does so in a way that is not commonly understood and 2) it does so in a 
way that appears like a joke.

Are these issues not important to the folks on this list? If so, I won't 
press them further. But I also don't think that I'd be able to 
contribute to rstat.us / encourage others to contribute under the terms 
of the WTFPL. A choice to retain a novelty license to make a vague 
political statement is a sign of a project that does not take itself 
seriously to me.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Dave Wilkinson
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 21:56
The religious divide between the BSD and GPL communities is simply without
value. Use MIT/BSD, and lose the strict-GPL'ers. Use the GPL, and lose
those that denounce copyleft strategies. There are license varieties and
the like that seem useful, but still somehow tread on one side of the line
or the other never placating both. Yet, with a public domain license, both
sides can benefit without the project being politically affiliated with
either.

- WTFPL is not a widely used license at all, I cannot name a single
> project that I consider important which uses it. Can someone point me at
> even one?


With your logic to avoid the license, an important project like
rstat.uscannot start a trend. :) Nor are there famous projects
licensed under the
proposed CC-0 either, which is also a shame. SQLite did a lot of work to be
legally within the public domain, but that might have not been necessary if
there was a choice available to them. They also have provisions that make
them serious amounts of money to anyone who has issue with the PD status to
acquire another license. It's rather ridiculous.

Are these issues not important to the folks on this list? If so, I won't
> press them further. But I also don't think that I'd be able to
> contribute to rstat.us / encourage others to contribute under the terms
> of the WTFPL. A choice to retain a novelty license to make a vague
> political statement is a sign of a project that does not take itself
> seriously to me.


This is an unreasonable reason to not work on a project and denounce it
over a metric such as quality or social importance. To not encourage
involvement also makes an unnecessary political message. I wish to only
politely point this out to you.

I like the CC-0. It does retain a flaw much like the WTFPL in that people
in countries that do not respect public domain cannot submit pull requests.
Which is a ridiculous condition of the berne convention nobody can avoid
anyway. We would receive them as CC-0, yes, but under the conditions of the
stricter clauses, as far as my understanding goes as explained to me by a
German citizen. Stuff like this is really irritating. The extra provisions
they have added to CC-0 do seem to allow for better copying as opposed to
the WTFPL *by* such nations. A small concession that may not be worth the
effort, but at least it goes one-way a little better. :)

My point that CC-0 is not a software license was based upon the idea that
the WTFPLv2 was written for a piece of software and used by media where
CC-0 was written for media and then used by software. I fully concede the
point. Times have changed and now the CC-0 is preferred where it was not
before.

To change to the CC-0, we would create a LICENSE file as a feature branch
with the proposed license and I suggest a list of copyright holders that
contain the names of all committers. As a byproduct, this would encourage
communication and the (likely required) approval of all implicit copyright
holders we currently have. Upon approval, merge to master. Upon a pull
request from a new committer, they will append their name as a commit and
attach that commit to the pull request (or be directed to do so.)

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:58 PM, Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org
> wrote:

> On 1/9/12 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:
>
> > If you want the CC-0 license for software... you use the WTFPL. That's
> > what we wanted. That's what we used. I'd recommend keeping it that way
> > unless somebody really comes up with an awesomely good reason to get
> > deep into the legal mess we'd probably all rather avoid. :)
>
> What specifically does MIT/BSD licensing take away that you specifically
> want to provide for people?
>
> I think I already made a strong case for why the license change is
> important:
>
> - WTFPL is not a widely used license at all, I cannot name a single
> project that I consider important which uses it. Can someone point me at
> even one?
>
> - Future contributors may be turned off by the license choice, because
> simple things like wanting attribution and wanting people not to use
> your name to promote their work are important even to folks who care a
> lot about being maximally permissive.
>
> - Most people prefer not to have to think about licensing. While that's
> what WTFPL may be *intended* to provide, it creates more confusion than
> it clarifies and suffers from all the same problems of saying "This work
> is released into the public domain", but with two added issues: 1) it
> does so in a way that is not commonly understood and 2) it does so in a
> way that appears like a joke.
>
> Are these issues not important to the folks on this list? If so, I won't
> press them further. But I also don't think that I'd be able to
> contribute to rstat.us / encourage others to contribute under the terms
> of the WTFPL. A choice to retain a novelty license to make a vague
> political statement is a sign of a project that does not take itself
> seriously to me.
>
> -greg
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:19
On 1/9/12 4:56 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:
> The religious divide between the BSD and GPL communities is simply
> without value.

I agree.

> Use MIT/BSD, and lose the strict-GPL'ers. Use the GPL,
> and lose those that denounce copyleft strategies.

On both sides of this argument, I think you're going to lose people on 
the fringe. It's much more likely (due to the nature of the licensing) 
that you'll lose contributors by using GPL rather than the other way 
around, particularly in Ruby. But in neither case will it be a barrier 
to successfully running an open source project. See the endless amount 
projects under each license as evidence for this.

So while there are political differences between using GPL and BSD 
licenses, they are both politically *valid* as opposed to being some 
fringe ideology.

> There are license
> varieties and the like that seem useful, but still somehow tread on one
> side of the line or the other never placating both. Yet, with a public
> domain license, both sides can benefit without the project being
> politically affiliated with either.

I have considered public domain for these reasons myself, and I agree on 
that point. However, it is important to point out that the issues with 
public domain licensing may be just as significantly a dividing point if 
not moreso than BSD vs. GPL. The only public domain project I know of 
that has gained widespread contributions and recognition is sqlite. 
Contrast this to BSD/MIT/GPL and you'll see what I mean.

>     - WTFPL is not a widely used license at all, I cannot name a single
>     project that I consider important which uses it. Can someone point me at
>     even one?
>
>
> With your logic to avoid the license, an important project like rstat.us
> <http://rstat.us> cannot start a trend. :) Nor are there famous projects
> licensed under the proposed CC-0 either, which is also a shame. SQLite
> did a lot of work to be legally within the public domain, but that might
> have not been necessary if there was a choice available to them.

I think that SQLite, while very much a significant project, is an 
outlier, unfortunately.

> They
> also have provisions that make them serious amounts of money to anyone
> who has issue with the PD status to acquire another license. It's rather
> ridiculous.

Did not know about that. Do you have a reference? That is pretty ridiculous.

>     Are these issues not important to the folks on this list? If so, I won't
>     press them further. But I also don't think that I'd be able to
>     contribute to rstat.us <http://rstat.us/> / encourage others to
>     contribute under the terms
>     of the WTFPL. A choice to retain a novelty license to make a vague
>     political statement is a sign of a project that does not take itself
>     seriously to me.
>
>
> This is an unreasonable reason to not work on a project and denounce it
> over a metric such as quality or social importance. To not encourage
> involvement also makes an unnecessary political message. I wish to only
> politely point this out to you.

While it may seem unreasonable to you, I don't see it as such, for all 
the reasons I've pointed out. I spend most of my time helping others 
advance free software and community projects, and have both worked on 
and maintained some very successful open source projects myself. Based 
on my experience, licensing matters.

I am trying to involve myself with rstat.us specifically because I think 
that I can contribute quite a bit in the way of sending both 
contributors its way and also providing Carol (and anyone else that 
wants it) guidance for how to run a large-scale, important, and popular 
open source project. But WTFPL is a deal breaker for me, because I think 
it's a barrier to contribution and sets a tone for the project which is 
neither serious nor responsible.

That said, I think if we could get past this one issue, there would be 
100 different reasons why I want to help rstat.us succeed. The fact that 
I'm standing firm on this point is because I think it's essential to the 
long-term success of the project.

> I like the CC-0. It does retain a flaw much like the WTFPL in that
> people in countries that do not respect public domain cannot submit pull
> requests. Which is a ridiculous condition of the berne convention nobody
> can avoid anyway. We would receive them as CC-0, yes, but under the
> conditions of the stricter clauses, as far as my understanding goes as
> explained to me by a German citizen. Stuff like this is really
> irritating. The extra provisions they have added to CC-0 do seem to
> allow for better copying as opposed to the WTFPL *by* such nations. A
> small concession that may not be worth the effort, but at least it goes
> one-way a little better. :)

I wonder whether we can get a more definitive answer to that question, 
perhaps submitting the question to the Software Freedom Law Center, or 
to Creative Commons. That *does* suck, but it's better than the 
possibility that they would not be able to use the project at all (which 
is the risk WTFPL runs)

> My point that CC-0 is not a software license was based upon the idea
> that the WTFPLv2 was written for a piece of software and used by media
> where CC-0 was written for media and then used by software. I fully
> concede the point. Times have changed and now the CC-0 is preferred
> where it was not before.
>
> To change to the CC-0, we would create a LICENSE file as a feature
> branch with the proposed license and I suggest a list of copyright
> holders that contain the names of all committers.

If the commit logs are accurate, this would be the list of people to 
contact: https://github.com/hotsh/rstat.us/contributors

> As a byproduct, this'
> would encourage communication and the (likely required) approval of all
> implicit copyright holders we currently have. Upon approval, merge to
> master. Upon a pull request from a new committer, they will append their
> name as a commit and attach that commit to the pull request (or be
> directed to do so.)

Given that the differences between WTFPL and CC-0 are mostly just in 
implementation rather than in spirit, and because WTFPL implies that you 
could re-license, I doubt that you actually need explicit consent. But 
this is really a decision to be made by the project maintainer(s), as 
there is no way to say for certain without asking a lawyer.

But these folks should at the very least be contacted and given an 
opportunity to weigh in on the decision, I agree. However you all want 
to do that isn't really my business as an outsider to this project.

But I can say that I'd be infinitely more comfortable supporting a CC0 
project than a WTFPL project, even if I still feel that the issue of BSD 
license being controversial is less significant than the value of having 
a well known, established license associated with the project. That 
said, a switch to CC0 might preserve the original motivation for 
choosing WTFPL and make the kind of statement rstat.us wants to make 
without alienating people. So that'd be a reasonable compromise, IMO.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Dave Wilkinson
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:37
>
> > They
> > also have provisions that make them serious amounts of money to anyone
> > who has issue with the PD status to acquire another license. It's rather
> > ridiculous.
>
> Did not know about that. Do you have a reference? That is pretty
> ridiculous.
>

Potentially serious money, I should have said:
http://www.hwaci.com/cgi-bin/license-step1
$1000 to get a separate license when PD doesn't apply. I understand it, but
I'm definitely not sure how I feel about that.

But I can say that I'd be infinitely more comfortable supporting a CC0
> project than a WTFPL project, even if I still feel that the issue of BSD
> license being controversial is less significant than the value of having
> a well known, established license associated with the project. That
> said, a switch to CC0 might preserve the original motivation for
> choosing WTFPL and make the kind of statement rstat.us wants to make
> without alienating people. So that'd be a reasonable compromise, IMO.
>

A compromise that I, as a project founder, am willing to make.

I'd suggest creating a pull request for CC-0, put it on github, having the
contributor list vote by adding a "Yes" comment to the pull request and
have that be our public record. Merge when all contributors affirm. I'll
vote "Yes" to it. Contributors already OK with it being WTFPL should not
have a problem with the CC-0.

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 5:19 PM, Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org
> wrote:

> On 1/9/12 4:56 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:
> > The religious divide between the BSD and GPL communities is simply
> > without value.
>
> I agree.
>
> > Use MIT/BSD, and lose the strict-GPL'ers. Use the GPL,
> > and lose those that denounce copyleft strategies.
>
> On both sides of this argument, I think you're going to lose people on
> the fringe. It's much more likely (due to the nature of the licensing)
> that you'll lose contributors by using GPL rather than the other way
> around, particularly in Ruby. But in neither case will it be a barrier
> to successfully running an open source project. See the endless amount
> projects under each license as evidence for this.
>
> So while there are political differences between using GPL and BSD
> licenses, they are both politically *valid* as opposed to being some
> fringe ideology.
>
> > There are license
> > varieties and the like that seem useful, but still somehow tread on one
> > side of the line or the other never placating both. Yet, with a public
> > domain license, both sides can benefit without the project being
> > politically affiliated with either.
>
> I have considered public domain for these reasons myself, and I agree on
> that point. However, it is important to point out that the issues with
> public domain licensing may be just as significantly a dividing point if
> not moreso than BSD vs. GPL. The only public domain project I know of
> that has gained widespread contributions and recognition is sqlite.
> Contrast this to BSD/MIT/GPL and you'll see what I mean.
>
> >     - WTFPL is not a widely used license at all, I cannot name a single
> >     project that I consider important which uses it. Can someone point
> me at
> >     even one?
> >
> >
> > With your logic to avoid the license, an important project like rstat.us
> > <http://rstat.us> cannot start a trend. :) Nor are there famous projects
> > licensed under the proposed CC-0 either, which is also a shame. SQLite
> > did a lot of work to be legally within the public domain, but that might
> > have not been necessary if there was a choice available to them.
>
> I think that SQLite, while very much a significant project, is an
> outlier, unfortunately.
>
> > They
> > also have provisions that make them serious amounts of money to anyone
> > who has issue with the PD status to acquire another license. It's rather
> > ridiculous.
>
> Did not know about that. Do you have a reference? That is pretty
> ridiculous.
>
> >     Are these issues not important to the folks on this list? If so, I
> won't
> >     press them further. But I also don't think that I'd be able to
> >     contribute to rstat.us <http://rstat.us/> / encourage others to
> >     contribute under the terms
> >     of the WTFPL. A choice to retain a novelty license to make a vague
> >     political statement is a sign of a project that does not take itself
> >     seriously to me.
> >
> >
> > This is an unreasonable reason to not work on a project and denounce it
> > over a metric such as quality or social importance. To not encourage
> > involvement also makes an unnecessary political message. I wish to only
> > politely point this out to you.
>
> While it may seem unreasonable to you, I don't see it as such, for all
> the reasons I've pointed out. I spend most of my time helping others
> advance free software and community projects, and have both worked on
> and maintained some very successful open source projects myself. Based
> on my experience, licensing matters.
>
> I am trying to involve myself with rstat.us specifically because I think
> that I can contribute quite a bit in the way of sending both
> contributors its way and also providing Carol (and anyone else that
> wants it) guidance for how to run a large-scale, important, and popular
> open source project. But WTFPL is a deal breaker for me, because I think
> it's a barrier to contribution and sets a tone for the project which is
> neither serious nor responsible.
>
> That said, I think if we could get past this one issue, there would be
> 100 different reasons why I want to help rstat.us succeed. The fact that
> I'm standing firm on this point is because I think it's essential to the
> long-term success of the project.
>
> > I like the CC-0. It does retain a flaw much like the WTFPL in that
> > people in countries that do not respect public domain cannot submit pull
> > requests. Which is a ridiculous condition of the berne convention nobody
> > can avoid anyway. We would receive them as CC-0, yes, but under the
> > conditions of the stricter clauses, as far as my understanding goes as
> > explained to me by a German citizen. Stuff like this is really
> > irritating. The extra provisions they have added to CC-0 do seem to
> > allow for better copying as opposed to the WTFPL *by* such nations. A
> > small concession that may not be worth the effort, but at least it goes
> > one-way a little better. :)
>
> I wonder whether we can get a more definitive answer to that question,
> perhaps submitting the question to the Software Freedom Law Center, or
> to Creative Commons. That *does* suck, but it's better than the
> possibility that they would not be able to use the project at all (which
> is the risk WTFPL runs)
>
> > My point that CC-0 is not a software license was based upon the idea
> > that the WTFPLv2 was written for a piece of software and used by media
> > where CC-0 was written for media and then used by software. I fully
> > concede the point. Times have changed and now the CC-0 is preferred
> > where it was not before.
> >
> > To change to the CC-0, we would create a LICENSE file as a feature
> > branch with the proposed license and I suggest a list of copyright
> > holders that contain the names of all committers.
>
> If the commit logs are accurate, this would be the list of people to
> contact: https://github.com/hotsh/rstat.us/contributors
>
> > As a byproduct, this'
> > would encourage communication and the (likely required) approval of all
> > implicit copyright holders we currently have. Upon approval, merge to
> > master. Upon a pull request from a new committer, they will append their
> > name as a commit and attach that commit to the pull request (or be
> > directed to do so.)
>
> Given that the differences between WTFPL and CC-0 are mostly just in
> implementation rather than in spirit, and because WTFPL implies that you
> could re-license, I doubt that you actually need explicit consent. But
> this is really a decision to be made by the project maintainer(s), as
> there is no way to say for certain without asking a lawyer.
>
> But these folks should at the very least be contacted and given an
> opportunity to weigh in on the decision, I agree. However you all want
> to do that isn't really my business as an outsider to this project.
>
> But I can say that I'd be infinitely more comfortable supporting a CC0
> project than a WTFPL project, even if I still feel that the issue of BSD
> license being controversial is less significant than the value of having
> a well known, established license associated with the project. That
> said, a switch to CC0 might preserve the original motivation for
> choosing WTFPL and make the kind of statement rstat.us wants to make
> without alienating people. So that'd be a reasonable compromise, IMO.
>
> -greg
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:48
On 1/9/12 5:37 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> Potentially serious money, I should have said:
> http://www.hwaci.com/cgi-bin/license-step1
> $1000 to get a separate license when PD doesn't apply. I understand it,
> but I'm definitely not sure how I feel about that.

That is really weird. It seems somewhat hostile towards jurisdictions 
that don't recognize public domain, and I don't understand why. I wonder 
how many of these they've actually sold :-/

Thanks for pointing out this bit of trivia, totally did not know about it.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:44
On 1/9/12 5:37 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> I'd suggest creating a pull request for CC-0, put it on github, having
> the contributor list vote by adding a "Yes" comment to the pull request
> and have that be our public record. Merge when all contributors affirm.
> I'll vote "Yes" to it. Contributors already OK with it being WTFPL
> should not have a problem with the CC-0.

This is the last comment I'll make about this process because I think 
it's up to the active contributors on the project for sure, but I wanted 
to say I think this method is reasonable. But I also think that it'd be 
fine to say "We're going to give everyone a month to vote, and if we get 
any no votes we'll block until consensus is reached. If no one votes 
against the proposal within a month, we'll go ahead and make the change"

The reason for this is because it'd be a shame to miss out on an 
important change like this just because one person went AFK for a long 
time or changed their email address, and because you already have 
implied consent due to the licensing, if a bit murky consent. If there 
are any conflicts that arise, you'll at least have strong social proof 
that you made a good-faith effort to resolve this issue.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Carol Nichols
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 21:36
I *knew* you guys had opinions. Now that we have a conversation going, any
opinions on anything else?

Regarding the licensing, I just wanted to respond to this:

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson <wilkie@xomb.org> wrote:

> The lax terms of the WTFPL cannot truly counter this, or at least I don't
> trust this logic.


This sure sounds like someone who chose to use the WTFPL doesn't trust the
logic behind the WTFPL... if that is the case, why would anyone else trust
it either? Please let me know if I'm misinterpreting your statement.

-Carol

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Dave Wilkinson
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:11
On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM, Carol Nichols <carol.nichols@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson <wilkie@xomb.org> wrote:
> The lax terms of the WTFPL cannot truly counter this, or at least I don't
> trust this logic.
>
> This sure sounds like someone who chose to use the WTFPL doesn't trust the
> logic behind the WTFPL... if that is the case, why would anyone else trust
> it either? Please let me know if I'm misinterpreting your statement.
>

Oh. The logic here relates to the ability of the license to be an agreement
that the license terms may be changed by a party without the consent of the
committer who technically co-owns the copyright to rstat.us. I don't trust
that the WTFPL is that powerful simply because it does not explicitly state
it. The same logic applies to all copyright licenses, actually.

To restate: Since you cannot waive ownership of copyright in the US or
abroad, I suggest we err on the side of caution and seek approval for a
copyright change by all committers.

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:36 PM, Carol Nichols <carol.nichols@gmail.com>wrote:

> I *knew* you guys had opinions. Now that we have a conversation going, any
> opinions on anything else?
>
> Regarding the licensing, I just wanted to respond to this:
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson <wilkie@xomb.org> wrote:
>
>> The lax terms of the WTFPL cannot truly counter this, or at least I don't
>> trust this logic.
>
>
> This sure sounds like someone who chose to use the WTFPL doesn't trust the
> logic behind the WTFPL... if that is the case, why would anyone else trust
> it either? Please let me know if I'm misinterpreting your statement.
>
> -Carol
>
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 22:34
On 1/9/12 5:11 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> Oh. The logic here relates to the ability of the license to be an
> agreement that the license terms may be changed by a party without the
> consent of the committer who technically co-owns the copyright to
> rstat.us <http://rstat.us>. I don't trust that the WTFPL is that
> powerful simply because it does not explicitly state it. The same logic
> applies to all copyright licenses, actually.
>
> To restate: Since you cannot waive ownership of copyright in the US or
> abroad, I suggest we err on the side of caution and seek approval for a
> copyright change by all committers.

It's not a matter of waiving copyright but a matter of re-licensing. 
This is what the WTFPL author has to say: "What the fuck is not clear in 
“DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO”? If you do not like the license terms, 
just relicense the work under another license."

http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/

My understanding is that each contributor has already given consent that 
we can "Do what the fuck we want to" with their code, including 
re-licensing it. This does not change the licensing on the original 
code, but it does allow rstat.us to relicense itself without explicit 
consent.

A comment such as "This project was originally released under the WTFPL 
but as of <date> has been relicensed under CC 0", combined with an email 
to everyone who contributed with a several week window for commentary 
seems in the safe zone to me.

But yeah, once you get into the question of whether WTFPL legally allows 
you to do that, it's an entire other can of worms. This is just based on 
what the license author implies (and what I feel the text implies).

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Dave Wilkinson
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 23:05
>
> My understanding is that each contributor has already given consent that
> we can "Do what the fuck we want to" with their code, including
> re-licensing it. This does not change the licensing on the original
> code, but it does allow rstat.us to relicense itself without explicit
> consent.
>

Yeah. It comes down to whether or not we collectively own the copyright. We
all do, since there was no agreement to transfer. It is essentially a
contract that waives enforcement of copyright. I cannot change that
contract without consent of all parties that are involved. At least, I
don't think I can. Basically, at the end of the day, I'd rather not be
wrong and do something illegal. :)

A timeout could work, as Greg proposes. I know the legal stuff is a bit
fickle, tricky, and seems unnecessary at times, but I'd still rather do it
right. (And then never think about it again) :)

So, let's do that github pull request thing to switch to CC-0... give
people a month to reply... make our best effort to inform the
contributors... and merge when we have affirmation.

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 5:34 PM, Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org
> wrote:

> On 1/9/12 5:11 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:
>
> > Oh. The logic here relates to the ability of the license to be an
> > agreement that the license terms may be changed by a party without the
> > consent of the committer who technically co-owns the copyright to
> > rstat.us <http://rstat.us>. I don't trust that the WTFPL is that
> > powerful simply because it does not explicitly state it. The same logic
> > applies to all copyright licenses, actually.
> >
> > To restate: Since you cannot waive ownership of copyright in the US or
> > abroad, I suggest we err on the side of caution and seek approval for a
> > copyright change by all committers.
>
> It's not a matter of waiving copyright but a matter of re-licensing.
> This is what the WTFPL author has to say: "What the fuck is not clear in
> “DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO”? If you do not like the license terms,
> just relicense the work under another license."
>
> http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/
>
> My understanding is that each contributor has already given consent that
> we can "Do what the fuck we want to" with their code, including
> re-licensing it. This does not change the licensing on the original
> code, but it does allow rstat.us to relicense itself without explicit
> consent.
>
> A comment such as "This project was originally released under the WTFPL
> but as of <date> has been relicensed under CC 0", combined with an email
> to everyone who contributed with a several week window for commentary
> seems in the safe zone to me.
>
> But yeah, once you get into the question of whether WTFPL legally allows
> you to do that, it's an entire other can of worms. This is just based on
> what the license author implies (and what I feel the text implies).
>
> -greg
>
>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 23:15
On 1/9/12 6:05 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> Yeah. It comes down to whether or not we collectively own the copyright.
> We all do, since there was no agreement to transfer. It is essentially a
> contract that waives enforcement of copyright.  I cannot change that
> contract without consent of all parties that are involved.

You don't collectively own the copyright unless you transfer it to some 
organization. What you have is a 'portions copyright' over the code you 
contributed to the project, and what you have done is licensed that code 
under terms that allow the whole world to "Do what the fuck they want" 
with it, which very likely includes re-licensing.

Even if you were not granted that right, there is always the option to 
remove the bits of code that you do not have consent to change the 
license on. That could really be annoying, but it's a legal option.

There's no ambiguity about collective copyright ownership in the default 
case. If you make a one line patch to Rails, you do not implicitly 
become a collective owner over the whole codebase, just the code you 
contributed. If this were not the case, contributing to *any* open 
source project would be an insane nightmare.

> At least, I
> don't think I can. Basically, at the end of the day, I'd rather not be
> wrong and do something illegal. :)

Yeah this is the nightmare of software licensing. It would be nice if 
those who started the free software movement used an equivalent of CC-0 
from the get-go. It would at least eliminate these sort of questions. 
But alas, we live in a world in which without a law degree, it is pretty 
much impossible to determine the legality of our licensing, and even if 
we had one, there isn't any proof by way of court.

So what matters, is to make a best effort that makes people feel as if 
you at least tried to do the right thing.

> A timeout could work, as Greg proposes. I know the legal stuff is a bit
> fickle, tricky, and seems unnecessary at times, but I'd still rather do
> it right. (And then never think about it again) :)
>
> So, let's do that github pull request thing to switch to CC-0... give
> people a month to reply... make our best effort to inform the
> contributors... and merge when we have affirmation.

Sounds great to me. Thanks for taking my suggestions under 
consideration. I know that I'm not a stakeholder in this project (at 
least not yet), but I really do want to help, and already have two 
students working on patches for rstat.us as well as a possible mention 
in a RubyInside article lined up if you all want the exposure.

I'm glad we had this conversation, even if it was frustrating. All 
license discussions are. ;)

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Colin Dean
Date:
2012-01-10 @ 01:06
I support the move to CC0 for the reasons discussed. 

My 2 cBTC. 
-- 
Colin Dean 
Cad@cad.cx 

Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org> wrote:

On 1/9/12 6:05 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> Yeah. It comes down to whether or not we collectively own the copyright.
> We all do, since there was no agreement to transfer. It is essentially a
> contract that waives enforcement of copyright. I cannot change that
> contract without consent of all parties that are involved.

You don't collectively own the copyright unless you transfer it to some 
organization. What you have is a 'portions copyright' over the code you 
contributed to the project, and what you have done is licensed that code 
under terms that allow the whole world to "Do what the fuck they want" 
with it, which very likely includes re-licensing.

Even if you were not granted that right, there is always the option to 
remove the bits of code that you do not have consent to change the 
license on. That could really be annoying, but it's a legal option.

There's no ambiguity about collective copyright ownership in the default 
case. If you make a one line patch to Rails, you do not implicitly 
become a collective owner over the whole codebase, just the code you 
contributed. If this were not the case, contributing to *any* open 
source project would be an insane nightmare.

> At least, I
> don't think I can. Basically, at the end of the day, I'd rather not be
> wrong and do something illegal. :)

Yeah this is the nightmare of software licensing. It would be nice if 
those who started the free software movement used an equivalent of CC-0 
from the get-go. It would at least eliminate these sort of questions. 
But alas, we live in a world in which without a law degree, it is pretty 
much impossible to determine the legality of our licensing, and even if 
we had one, there isn't any proof by way of court.

So what matters, is to make a best effort that makes people feel as if 
you at least tried to do the right thing.

> A timeout could work, as Greg proposes. I know the legal stuff is a bit
> fickle, tricky, and seems unnecessary at times, but I'd still rather do
> it right. (And then never think about it again) :)
>
> So, let's do that github pull request thing to switch to CC-0... give
> people a month to reply... make our best effort to inform the
> contributors... and merge when we have affirmation.

Sounds great to me. Thanks for taking my suggestions under 
consideration. I know that I'm not a stakeholder in this project (at 
least not yet), but I really do want to help, and already have two 
students working on patches for rstat.us as well as a possible mention 
in a RubyInside article lined up if you all want the exposure.

I'm glad we had this conversation, even if it was frustrating. All 
license discussions are. ;)

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Carol Nichols
Date:
2012-01-10 @ 04:55
Sounds like a plan! I'll make a pull request to change to cc0, with all
committers on it, with a 1 month, as discussed, tomorrow. Thank you for the
discussion!

I've already made most of the changes I mentioned to the readme and Lindsey
accepted them, let me know what you think.

How 'bout that roadmap, huh? Anything missing? Would anyone like to work on
any of it with me? ;)

-Carol


On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 8:06 PM, Colin Dean <cad@cad.cx> wrote:

> I support the move to CC0 for the reasons discussed.
>
> My 2 cBTC.
> --
> Colin Dean
> Cad@cad.cx
>
> Gregory Brown <gregory_brown@letterboxes.org> wrote:
>>
>> On 1/9/12 6:05 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:
>>
>> > Yeah. It comes down to whether or not we collectively own the copyright.
>> > We all do, since there was no agreement to transfer. It is essentially a
>> > contract that waives enforcement of copyright.  I cannot change that
>> > contract without consent of all parties that are involved.
>>
>> You don't collectively own the copyright unless you transfer it to some
>> organization. What you have is a 'portions copyright' over the code you
>> contributed to the project, and what you have done is licensed that code
>> under terms that allow the whole world to "Do what the fuck they want"
>> with it, which very likely includes re-licensing.
>>
>> Even if you were not granted that right, there is always the option to
>> remove the bits of code that you do not have consent to change the
>> license on. Th
>>  at
>> could really be annoying, but it's a legal option.
>>
>> There's no ambiguity about collective copyright ownership in the default
>> case. If you make a one line patch to Rails, you do not implicitly
>> become a collective owner over the whole codebase, just the code you
>> contributed. If this were not the case, contributing to *any* open
>> source project would be an insane nightmare.
>>
>> > At least, I
>> > don't think I can. Basically, at the end of the day, I'd rather not be
>> > wrong and do something illegal. :)
>>
>> Yeah this is the nightmare of software licensing. It would be nice if
>> those who started the free software movement used an equivalent of CC-0
>> from the get-go. It would at least eliminate these sort of questions.
>> But alas, we live in a world in which without a law degree, it is pretty
>> much impossible to determine the legality of our licensing, and even if
>> we had one, there isn't any pro
>>  of by
>> way of court.
>>
>> So what matters, is to make a best effort that makes people feel as if
>> you at least tried to do the right thing.
>>
>> > A timeout could work, as Greg proposes. I know the legal stuff is a bit
>> > fickle, tricky, and seems unnecessary at times, but I'd still rather do
>> > it right. (And then never think about it again) :)
>> >
>> > So, let's do that github pull request thing to switch to CC-0... give
>> > people a month to reply... make our best effort to inform the
>> > contributors... and merge when we have affirmation.
>>
>> Sounds great to me. Thanks for taking my suggestions under
>> consideration. I know that I'm not a stakeholder in this project (at
>> least not yet), but I really do want to help, and already have two
>> students working on patches for rstat.us as well as a possible mention
>> in a RubyInside article lined up if you all want the exposur
>>  e.
>>
>> I'm glad we had this conversation, even if it was frustrating. All
>> license discussions are. ;)
>>
>> -greg
>>
>>

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 21:27
Dave, sorry for breaking my reply into so many posts, but I keep 
thinking back to points you made here that I feel are worth addressing.

On 1/9/12 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> The terms of the WTFPL are free, FSF-approved, GPL-compatible, and do
> certainly promote the values on which rstatus was founded. It is the
> software equivalent to the CC-0 license which _is not a software
> license_.

Here is what the FSF has to say about the respective licenses, which 
clearly implies their preference for CC-0 as a means for releasing 
software into the public domain. This information is recent (2011), so 
it might have been easy to overlook.

## WTFPL v2

This is a free software license, very permissive and GPL-compatible.

## CC-0

CC0 is a public domain dedication from Creative Commons. A work released 
under CC0 is dedicated to the public domain to the fullest extent 
permitted by law. If that is not possible for any reason, CC0 also 
provides a simple permissive license as a fallback. Both public domain 
works and the simple license provided by CC0 are compatible with the GNU 
GPL.

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we recommend you 
use CC0.

SOURCE: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#SoftwareLicenses

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 21:12
On 1/9/12 3:48 PM, Dave Wilkinson wrote:

> The terms of the WTFPL are free, FSF-approved, GPL-compatible, and do
> certainly promote the values on which rstatus was founded. It is the
> software equivalent to the CC-0 license which _is not a software
> license_. The downside of the WTFPL is only in the circumstance where it
> is considered a public domain license in countries that do not respect
> them. In my opinion, this does not outweigh its benefits. This flaw also
> applies to the CC-0 license. Also, both public domain licenses are
> without a legal precedent in the software field. This doesn't matter
> that much when you don't care about attribution, which is probably why
> it remains uncontested.

This flaw specifically does not apply to CC-0, as it includes language 
that explicitly lays out maximally permissive rights "to the extent 
allowable by law". The whole point of CC-0 is to solve the public domain 
problem as best as possible.

> If you want the CC-0 license for software... you use the WTFPL.

It's true CC-0 is not a software license, but WTFPL says this about 
itself: "The WTFPL is an all-purpose license and does not cover only 
computer programs; it can be used for artwork, documentation and so on. 
As such, it only covers copying, distribution and modification."

Given that the terms of the license say absolutely *nothing* about 
software, it's weird to say that it is a software license. The truth to 
that statement is that it's probably quite unlikely that WTFPL is used 
outside of software, but nothing about it is fundamentally a software 
license in any way.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:18
On 1/9/12 3:01 PM, Lindsey Bieda wrote:
> I'm not so sure how easy it will be to change the license to AGPL or
> BSD/MIT considering it is already under WTFPL and presumably we would
> have to get every contributor to sign off on changing the license.

Well, I would imagine "doing whatever the fuck you want" is inclusive of 
redistributing under a new license. If it's not, then that sort of 
defeats the purpose of the wording, right?

Regardless of what *can* be done, it'd be important at a minimum to 
attempt to contact all contributors and inform them of the change and 
give them a reasonable period of time to respond before making a change.

> I strongly encourage sticking with WTFPL, not only because of the
> difficulties in switching, but because it gets away from a lot of the
> nasty politics behind other licenses. WTFPL already gives a maximum
> amount of freedom as far as licensing goes.

The problem is, WTFPL is not in any way a proven license, and so you may 
actually end up giving people less freedom than you intend by using it. 
The CC0 is specifically crafted to be basically "public domain or as 
close as possible to it", but that latter part is important: some 
countries have IP policies that might make WTFPL invalid, and so in 
those places, people have NO rights to use the software.

On top of this, public domain style licensing is a turnoff to many 
contributors because it does not even prevent someone from using their 
name to promote some third-party redistribution, and does not come with 
even an attribution requirement.

Why make rstat.us use a different license than virtually all open source 
software? For simple, permissive licensing, BSD/MIT are well understood 
and in widespread use with very little controversy. If you must do 
public domain, it's best to do it in a way that lawyers have at least 
*looked at* via CC0, so that you can avoid as best as possible the 
regional limitations on public domain.

In short, without a real license, it's hard to take rstat.us seriously. 
I think this will work against the project rather than for it in the 
long run.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Steve Klabnik
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:28
> The problem is, WTFPL is not in any way a proven license,

The GPL hasn't been tested in court either.

> Why make rstat.us use a different license than virtually all open source
> software? For simple, permissive licensing, BSD/MIT are well understood
> and in widespread use with very little controversy. If you must do
> public domain, it's best to do it in a way that lawyers have at least
> *looked at* via CC0, so that you can avoid as best as possible the
> regional limitations on public domain.

Every linux distribution is shipped with bunches of WTFPL software.

The only argument I feel is valid is the 'cursing might turn someone
off' point. Which is valid. I wouldn't be particularly opposed to
moving to BSD, but would be pretty said if it was made AGPL'd.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 20:35
On 1/9/12 3:28 PM, Steve Klabnik wrote:
>> The problem is, WTFPL is not in any way a proven license,
>
> The GPL hasn't been tested in court either.

While that is true, it doesn't mean that it's in no way a proven 
license. Lots of people who know a lot more about this than you or I, 
people with experience with IP law, have analyzed the GPL. You can find 
endless information about this online.

That said, this is a complete straw man. We don't need to compare the 
most complex free software license to something someone wrote up for the 
lulz. The discussion about the difference between CC0 and WTFPL, or BSD 
and WTFPL would be enough to show that WTFPL is in the novelty license 
category while the others are actually backed by organizations that 
people might generally regard as knowing a thing or two about licensing.

> Every linux distribution is shipped with bunches of WTFPL software.
>
> The only argument I feel is valid is the 'cursing might turn someone
> off' point. Which is valid. I wouldn't be particularly opposed to
> moving to BSD, but would be pretty said if it was made AGPL'd.

What software ships with Linux that is a) under WTFPL and is b) popular 
and well known or significantly important in some way?

Changing from WTFPL to AGPL would be a huge, complicated change in 
philosophy. Unless no thought was given to licensing at all on this 
project, my assumption is that "maximally permissive" was the goal. So 
let me ask: What are the downsides to using any of the following 
licenses? MIT/BSD/CC0

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Stephen Paul Weber
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 21:38
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

Sorry to break the thread, but I just joined the list because of 
<https://github.com/hotsh/rstat.us/pull/443>

I disagree with changing our license just because laymen might not like it.  
The WTFPL is clean, simple, and says only what it needs to say to get the 
job done.

Of course, relicensing probably falls under "WTF" you want to do, if other 
vote that way, so I can't stop it.  I felt it important to lodge my 
opposition on-list, though.

This seems like overcomplicating the issue.  We have a license, and you 
can't get "freer" than this license.  Yes, technically there are hidden 
restrictions (it's actually "DO WTF YOU WANT TO within the realm of what 
your country's laws allow, yaddayadda"), but there's no need to try to make 
any such restrictions explicit, and they're subject to change and court 
interpretation anyway.

Better to leave them nothing to interpret.

- -- 
Stephen Paul Weber, @singpolyma
See <http://singpolyma.net> for how I prefer to be contacted
edition right joseph
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Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 22:11
I don't think that this is about laymen not liking the license, and that 
was never the reasoning I used in my reasoning for changing the license. 
It was about contributors and users who would prefer a license which has 
more solid backing and recognizability behind it.

I asked for a reference to a single project which the folks on this list 
consider significant, popular, or especially useful which uses the 
WTFPL. Not a single project has been named.

When faced between a license established by Creative Commons and 
something that sounds like an April Fools joke, in which the two 
licenses are functionally identical *except* that the former compensates 
for problems that the latter has with regional limitations on public 
domain, this seems like an obvious change.

Your opposition is simply "who cares about IP laws?" it seems. Well, 
that's exactly the kind of attitude I think using the WTFPL projects, 
and exactly why I'm recommending this change. CC0 as least says "We 
really want you to be able to do what you want, and we've made our best 
effort to allow you to do that".

-greg

On 1/11/12 4:38 PM, Stephen Paul Weber wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA256
>
> Sorry to break the thread, but I just joined the list because of
> <https://github.com/hotsh/rstat.us/pull/443>
>
> I disagree with changing our license just because laymen might not like it.
> The WTFPL is clean, simple, and says only what it needs to say to get the
> job done.
>
> Of course, relicensing probably falls under "WTF" you want to do, if other
> vote that way, so I can't stop it.  I felt it important to lodge my
> opposition on-list, though.
>
> This seems like overcomplicating the issue.  We have a license, and you
> can't get "freer" than this license.  Yes, technically there are hidden
> restrictions (it's actually "DO WTF YOU WANT TO within the realm of what
> your country's laws allow, yaddayadda"), but there's no need to try to make
> any such restrictions explicit, and they're subject to change and court
> interpretation anyway.
>
> Better to leave them nothing to interpret.
>
> - --
> Stephen Paul Weber, @singpolyma
> See<http://singpolyma.net>  for how I prefer to be contacted
> edition right joseph
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Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Stephen Paul Weber
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 22:23
Somebody claiming to be Gregory Brown wrote:
>It was about contributors and users who would prefer a license which has
>more solid backing and recognizability behind it.

Have there been complaints/requests, or is this hypothetical?

>I asked for a reference to a single project which the folks on this list
>consider significant, popular, or especially useful which uses the
>WTFPL. Not a single project has been named.

Possible.

>Your opposition is simply "who cares about IP laws?" it seems. Well,

Really? How?  If the WTFPL were unclear or a problem I'd suggest changing 
it, but it's DFSG accepted and very simple and clear.

Anywy, if it matters to the community, I can't stop it, I just thought it 
important to voice my objection.

-- 
Stephen Paul Weber, @singpolyma
See <http://singpolyma.net> for how I prefer to be contacted
edition right joseph

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 22:34
On 1/11/12 5:23 PM, Stephen Paul Weber wrote:
> Somebody claiming to be Gregory Brown wrote:
>> It was about contributors and users who would prefer a license which has
>> more solid backing and recognizability behind it.
>
> Have there been complaints/requests, or is this hypothetical?

I complained.

I dislike WTFPL as a license choice and would be unwilling to contribute 
to a project that uses it. I want to make rstat.us a standing community 
service project for Mendicant University and continue to assist Carol 
(and others) in whatever way I can.

I have experience with both running my own free software projects with a 
large number of contributors and users (Prawn: 50+ contributes, tens of 
thousands of users), and with community relations / maintenance on RubyGems.

I want to support this project but I only will continue to do so if it 
has a license that I feel won't turn away potential contributors and 
users, a license which has a multitude of well known projects using that 
license. Choice of license is not where I feel rstat.us needs to be 
innovating.

> Really? How?  If the WTFPL were unclear or a problem I'd suggest changing
> it, but it's DFSG accepted and very simple and clear.

Both DFSG and FSF accept it because it is functionally equivalent to 
public domain. OSI does not accept it for the same reason (no need to 
accept the same thing said in a different way).

But I'll ask one last time: Can you name one project that is 
recognizable to the average developer which uses this license?

I think rstat.us is important, and I'm concerned not about the 
relatively small group of people working on this project so far, but the 
hundreds of contributors and millions of users this project has the 
potential to serve in the future. Licensing decisions (like name 
changes) get harder and harder to do as time goes on, and that's why 
I've made this a precondition for me supporting this project.

The social potential of this project is tremendous. I don't want 
something stupid like the choice of a license which may end up being 
proven to be null and void if it's ever brought to court to get in the way.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Stephen Paul Weber
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 22:48
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

Somebody claiming to be Gregory Brown wrote:
>On 1/11/12 5:23 PM, Stephen Paul Weber wrote:
>> Somebody claiming to be Gregory Brown wrote:
>> Have there been complaints/requests, or is this hypothetical?
>
>I complained.
>
>I dislike WTFPL as a license choice and would be unwilling to contribute
>to a project that uses it.

Well, I guess if people are going to be like that then a more politically 
correct license may be the only option.

>Choice of license is not where I feel rstat.us needs to be
>innovating.

Sure.

>But I'll ask one last time: Can you name one project that is
>recognizable to the average developer which uses this license?

Yes, rstat.us.

But seriously, I fail to see the relevance.  Can you name one project that 
is CC0?  I mean, there are some, but not major ones.

>Licensing decisions (like name
>changes) get harder and harder to do as time goes on, and that's why
>I've made this a precondition for me supporting this project.

I guess I should have read the thread more thoroughly.  I didn't realise 
this was a personal issue for you.  Like I said above and before, I oppose 
this change, but only on principle really.  If the community wants to change 
(or, in your case it seems, needs it to change before they'll deign to join 
in) then I'm not going to raise a stink about it.  I agreed to license stuff 
WTFPL precisely so that this sort of thing would be a nonissue.  Like the 
FAQ say:

Q: Can I ...?
A: Yes.

- -- 
Stephen Paul Weber, @singpolyma
See <http://singpolyma.net> for how I prefer to be contacted
edition right joseph
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Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Gregory Brown
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 23:05
On 1/11/12 5:48 PM, Stephen Paul Weber wrote:

>> I dislike WTFPL as a license choice and would be unwilling to contribute
>> to a project that uses it.
>
> Well, I guess if people are going to be like that then a more politically
> correct license may be the only option.

Political correctness is part of it, but to me the regional restrictions 
and the lack of perceived legitimacy of WTFPL are far more significant.

So I guess if Creative Commons released a licensed and called it WTFPL 
but had lawyers vet it and include provisions to overcome regional 
restrictions, I would not be opposed to using it.

>> But I'll ask one last time: Can you name one project that is
>> recognizable to the average developer which uses this license?
>
> Yes, rstat.us.

This is a sign of the problem, not supporting evidence :)

> But seriously, I fail to see the relevance.  Can you name one project that
> is CC0?  I mean, there are some, but not major ones.

No, I can't, and I pretty much feel like public domain licensing for 
free software is a ship that sailed a long time ago.

Think about rstat.us and how it is sitting on top of Rails, which is BSD 
licensed. And Rails is sitting on top of Ruby, which depending on your 
version of Ruby is either going to be a dual license between an ad-hoc 
license Matz put together and either the GPL or BSD license. This all is 
probably running on a Linux based system serverside, in which virtually 
all the important bits and pieces are GPLed.

So yeah, we can't use this logic to say that its worthless to use public 
domain licensing, otherwise nothing would ever change in the world. But 
we are talking about the tip of the iceberg here, and since almost all 
of rstat.us's dependencies and support software are more restrictive 
than public domain, the impact of this decision on the actual freedom a 
user has is minimal.

But that having been said, suppose rstat.us does have a strong 
preference for making a statement about user freedoms. After all, it was 
built due to the excessively restrictive terms of another service. Now 
the case for using public domain as a counterbalance to the "enemy" of 
rstat.us seems reasonable to me. The natural urge might to be to 
encourage users and contributors to "Do what the fuck they want"

But in reality, the WTFPL license is LESS likely to give people those 
rights than CC0. While I can't name a project using CC0 that's 
significant, I can name several people I respect over at Creative 
Commons. And pretty much everyone knows Creative Commons. So the brand 
helps with legitimacy.

If the project didn't want to take a political licensing stance, it 
could be converted to BSD licensing and then no one (except for some 
crazy beard wielding FSF folks*) would bat an eyelash. But clearly, the 
project DOES want to be public domain. So with that in mind, CC0 has 
several clear benefits over WTFPL, and that's why this is being 
discussed. It's a compromise.

(*) FWIW, I am pretty conservative as a free software contributor. I am 
now using AGPL pretty much exclusively for applications. But that 
doesn't make me frustrated when people use BSD licensing. That debate is 
about as significant as Emacs vs. Vim

> I agreed to license stuff
> WTFPL precisely so that this sort of thing would be a nonissue.  Like the
> FAQ say:
>
> Q: Can I ...?
> A: Yes.

I think I mentioned somewhere back in this long winding thread that I 
sympathize with this *idea*. But I feel pretty strongly that the 
implementation generates more heat than light.

-greg

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Steve Klabnik
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 23:02
In a consensus sense, you have a concern, but it's not blocking, if I
read it right.

Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
Stephen Paul Weber
Date:
2012-01-11 @ 23:18
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

Somebody claiming to be Steve Klabnik wrote:
>In a consensus sense, you have a concern, but it's not blocking, if I
>read it right.

Yes, that's pretty much the strongest thing I meant to convey.  I probably 
should have been more careful in my wording to prevent the thread from 
getting out of hand :)

- -- 
Stephen Paul Weber, @singpolyma
See <http://singpolyma.net> for how I prefer to be contacted
edition right joseph
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Re: [rstatus] Future direction of rstat.us development

From:
elf Pavlik
Date:
2012-01-09 @ 15:04
Excerpts from Carol Nichols's message of 2012-01-07 20:53:11 +0000:
> Hi all rstat.us-ians,
> 
> As you may or may not know, Steve Klabnik has recently given me the keys to
> rstat.us and I wanted to talk with you all about where this bus should go!
> 
> Greg Brown (founder of Mendicant University [1], among other things)
> reached out to me because he thinks rstat.us is an important project in
> this day and age as an open source social network with a focus on
> distribution, access to your data, simplicity, and ease of use.
> 
> Because of its importance and because this project aligns with the
> philosophy of MU and may be a project that MU alumni would like to work on
> during project months, Greg has some suggestions on how to make the project
> more friendly to new contributors and take it to the next level on the open
> source project maturity continuum (And as I say that I hope it never
> becomes like CMMI)
> 
> I think the suggestions are good ones but I wanted to discuss them with the
> rstat.us community before unilaterally starting to enact them. I'd love to
> have your feedback, thoughts, further suggestions, etc.
> 
> Greg, please weigh in if I've forgotten anything we talked about. In many
> cases I've thought about your suggestions and added thoughts of my own.
> 
> 1. Change the license from WTFPL to something with more explicit
> protections and wider community usage. I personally tend to go with MIT for
> my projects, but I'm up for debate on this: BSD, CC0, others?
> 
> 2. README/documentation - make the project more welcoming to potential
> contributors by:
>     - Adding a section about the philosophy behind rstat.us (probably a
> blend of the ideas expressed on the rstat.us homepage and some blog posts
> of Steve's [2][3])
>     - Remove statements whose tone might be off-putting, such as (re:
> running one's own node) "If you need help with this, then you're not ready
> to run one."
>     - More explicit documentation on setting up your system for development
>     - Add/update the code documentation (many of the pages in the rocco
> docs [4] don't work or don't have much)
>     - Regenerate the documentation more often (ideally automatically) It
> looks like it hasn't been regenerated since April 2011.
>     - Make clear what happens when you submit a pull request or issue and
> execute on that, which involves further discussion on what that is ;) (I
> personally feel nervous about submitting pull requests into the void and I
> always appreciate someone at least saying they're looking at it so that I
> know it's been noticed, so that's why I've included this one here)
> 
> 3. Roadmap for development (and once we've decided what the roadmap should
> be, make it visible with its current status and execute on it)
>     - Fix or disable anything that seems "broken" from an end user's point
> of view, like Issues 421, 418, 404, 368/394 (Timeline: In the near future,
> I'd say next few weeks if it's just me, there are some things that I'd
> rather fix than disable)
>     - Fix bugs with the OStatus protocol like Issues 387 and 388 (Timeline:
> probably a few months unless wilkie helps, I don't think anyone else knows
> the protocol as well ;)
>     - A real RESTful API to enable the development of clients/integration
> with other services (Timeline: luckily Steve and his upcoming not-a-book
> will help me learn what this entails, but probably a few months if it's
> just me)
>     - Running your own node, which involves: actually trying it out, fixing
> any issues that arise and documenting the process (Hard to say considering
> I don't know how this will go, and connecting the nodes probably depends on
> fixing the OStatus issues, so probably closer to 6-ish months if it's just
> me)
> 
> I'm planning on publicizing this thread and then publicizing the ensuing
> road map, I would love to get another big push of development from anyone
> who would like to help!
> 
> -Carol
> 
> [1] - http://mendicantuniversity.org/ I am part of the MU alumni network
> and Steve is a special friend of the program.
> [2] - http://blog.steveklabnik.com/posts/2011-03-23-announcing-rstat-us
> [3] -
> 
http://blog.steveklabnik.com/posts/2011-07-24-twitter-is-to-important-to-be-owned-by-twitter
> [4] - http://hotsh.github.com/rstat.us/rstatus.html

sounds great!

any plans for project management tool?
http://bettermeans.com put their code open source and they forked from 
redmine and kind of put pivotal tracker like UI

still at this moment it has some mess in a codebase =(

at some point i could fiddle maybe with adding oembed support
https://github.com/judofyr/ruby-oembed

cheers!
~ elf pavlik ~

-- 
(living strictly moneyless already for over 2 years)
http://wwelves.org/perpetual-tripper
http://moneyless.info
http://hackers4peace.net