RFC: On-demand package installation API in kdelibs

Martin Sandsmark sandsmark at samfundet.no
Thu Jul 29 18:12:10 BST 2010

On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 06:54:14PM +0200, Thomas Lübking wrote:
> (Aside that this doesn't apply for many countries:)
> No. Not at all (well actually it _could_ be like this, but that would be 
> stupid)
> All eg. dragon would say is: "require CSS decoder"
> That is not calling for anything but just stating a fact. Whether you state it 
> to the user directly or (in addition or exclusively) to some "log" streamed 
> into some distro specific backend does not matter.
> Then the distro comes in and says "can resolve" (there's btw. a "legal" DvD 
> player for linux, iirc you just cannot purchase it as end user), "can not 
> resolve - sorry" or "resolve yourself" - this is more or less how it's done 
> anyway, Lubos just proposed a generalized API for /any/ kind of weak 
> dependency solution to put distros in control of the usertask complexity.

The problem is that there is no legal DVD decrypting library. There's a
standalone DVD player that also decrypts itself, but that is useless to us.

So by requiring a DVD decryptor we are explicitly requiring something

> The legal situation of the distro exclusive actions _cannot_ harm either KDE 
> or external apps like amarok, since they're not in control of distro 
> behaviour.

But they are responsible for what they ask the user to install, or?

> Again: you don't ask. You just state a fact. If you live in a country where 
> that is under legal pressure i suggest to move (iff you're allowed to ;-P )

Well, I don't think I can be extradited to the US for helping people violate
patents (otherwise I would have reverted the automated codec installation in

> In what legal system
> German law […]

American law, obviously, as they are the ones with the DMCA, and the reason
we need this API in the first place...

> Also claiming "nice intentions" when you killed a "dangrous man" won't talk 
> you out of shooting pantomimes =D


> pacman tells me about a bunch of weak dependencies (eg. OOo prefabs, 
> transcoders or VCD generators for k3b etc.) quite often and it seldom seems 
> driven by legal thoughts at all...
> With a little patching around or this API the distro can offer to post-load 
> this kind of stuff when required for the first time.
> Afaics there _is_ general use for weak deps for distros as it allows to keep a 
> small core.

This is AFAIK because the multimedia packagers in arch don't reside in silly
countries. :-)

But yes, I can see the use case for these "weak deps".

> And here we go again.
> I think I understand your issue, but it relies on a probably false assumption.
> a) "KDE" does not ask for anything just by kdelibs providing some API.

Well, I'm thinking KDE providing something that is using this API too (like
dragonplayer or juk), otherwise it wouldn't make much sense, or?

> b) If (IFF) eg. amarok would explicitly call for libmad to support mp3 it 
> could be in trouble, yes.
> If it's only asking to resolve the lack of mp3 decoding support or even rather  
> just stating the lack of such, it's clearly not. Not even if there was nothing 
> like fluendo, since the fact a solution does not yet exist doesn't mean it 
> will never or that the unresolved dep would not exist.
> A fact is a fact and you cannot be sucessfully attacked for stating it. 
> (except for in some states that *free* software should actually not care 
> about, but they care about different kinds of facts anyway and not about 
> breaking patents, cr or the DCMA ...)

So if we ask users to install something we are fully aware they can't attain
legally, we aren't asking them to do something illegal?

> c) Iff the distro starts or suggests to install "illegal" stuff and maybe uses 
> kdialog or plasma notifications or anything else provided by kdelibs, that 
> does NOT mean "KDE" would ask or do anything.
> By that definition KDE or Nokia or M$ or whoever would be in charge of 
> whatever is displayed on their DE using their toolkits and the NRA killed 
> millions of ppl...

I agree.

> Even iff the dialog would clearly say "KDE is asking you: break the law?" that 
> could not put KDE into any charge. This would just be a lie and the appeal 
> /is/ entirely irrelevant.

If we wrote "Kill your parents", and someone went and actually did that,
wouldn't it be possible for us to be prosecuted?

> Just by mangeling a picture of yours into the Zapruder film, i won't make you 
> responsible for the JFK assasination, yesno? :-)

I haven't seen it (yet, we  have it on VHS). :(

> Ps: gee the second megaflame this week ;-)

I promise this is the last I'll join in on (unless there's more multimedia
related :3).

Martin Sandsmark 

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