RFC: On-demand package installation API in kdelibs

Thomas Lübking thomas.luebking at web.de
Wed Jul 28 23:19:28 BST 2010

Am Wednesday 28 July 2010 schrieb Martin Sandsmark:
> On Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:13:39PM +0100, John Layt wrote:
> > Besides, it would be up to each distro to implement the
> > installation mechanism which fetches and installs the software, therefore
> > it would surely be up to each distro to check the legality of how they
> > choose to do so?
> Well, it is we who are recommending/telling the user to install the
> software, the "how" is just a technicality.
No "we" are not.
By Lubos proposal the distros implement the handler for a weak dependency, 
i.e. amarok says "need some codec" and the distro says either:
a) here you go
b) you'd need this, but it might be illegal
c) i am a wiener and afraid of "lawyers" because i live in a country with a 
legal system which left sane bounds ages ago. therefore: no way. sorry :-(

The "technicality" is actually what matters - not the appearance, since then 
KDE would be to blame even if distro xyz would just use kdialog to ask you to 
"break" the DMCA (which is btw. an insult on the human brain - sorry)

Providing an abstract API does not get you into any response and since you 
lost control downstream, even constructs like the german "Störerhaftung" (if 
you run a forum, you're -maybe- held responsive for insults placed there) 
won't apply.

Such an approch would not even hit amarok, as it simply says "need some 
dependency" - what is just a fact. What the disto makes out of this is out of 
amarok's control & response.

> > I think we can rely on the Betamax ruling here, same as the
> > bittorrent developers do.  If there is even a single legal avenue to

> As I said, this won't work because there is no legal avenue for, say,
> libdvdcss.
Yes it would.
The nature of such API is clearly to resolve weak deps - not to break any law. 
Such deduction would fail as there can be -and are quite some- weak deps that 
do not break any law but just bypass installation overhead.
Whether it can be used to do evil stuff in a particular case does not matter. 
By such model the NRA would btw. be responsive for every shootout victim, 
since weapons _can_ be used to kill ppl.

The legal issue would then as mentioned be on the distros side, depending on 
how they actually resolve this dependency in pot. illegal cases (by checking 
locales, bypassing some server locations or just avoid installation) and thus 
out of k-c-d scope :-)

Thomas - who asked one of our attorneys and listened to a harsh tirade on 
silly US law excesses... first time i heard a lawyer saying all lawyers should 
be killed =D


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