Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

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Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Tue May 29, 2018 00:24

In this post I want to post a proposal about the upcoming Content DB.

Proposal
The upcoming Content DB for Minetest 0.5.0 should adopt the following policy for submissions:
“We only accept things released under free software and/or open source (FOSS) licenses.”


Notes
In this text, I also include any artwork or documentation when I say “FOSS”. To absolutely avoid any possible confusion, with “free software” I mean, as defined in https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en and with “open source software”, I mean as defined here: https://opensource.org/definition

Rationale
Summary
  • Some freedoms should be non-negotionable, there should be a baseline for everyone
  • De facto our community is already almost exclusively FOSS, so this is more about formalizing and clarification of what is already informerly happening for years
  • Our community has benefitted and grown a TON from committing to FOSS, and continues to do so
  • The forum policy on licensing is old and too vague, a few people interpreted it as if some non-free licenses are OK (I dare to contest that)
  • Strict FOSS-only policies have worked well in other communities like Wikipedia
  • Content DB is an OFFICIAL project and likely to be tightly coupled with Minetest, so policy DOES matter
  • Minetest itself is stricly FOSS, it seems just natural that things on the Content DB are as well
  • Mods are an essential part of Minetest, no mods = nothing to play.
  • Getting your stuff to Content DB should be a privilege, it is earned by committing to FOSS licenses
  • Everyone benefits from the numerous FOSS community creations, it's only fair that others in turn treat the community the same way it treated you when they want something on Content DB

Full rationale

First of all, I believe some freedoms should be non-negotionable. The freedom do use a software for whatever purpose is an essential freedom for every user. Likewise, the freedom to share, modify, and share those modifications are also pretty essential. In practice, these things are happening all the time in our community, it's basically the daily routine, our lifeblood. So I am not exagerrating when I say “essential”.
If we permit any non-free licenses, this means that it's okay for modders to deny such freedoms to their users. The community loses something. At the very least, this would just hinder the typical routine and the community would be forced to work around that. Non-free simply does not fit into our community. I strongly believe a minimum baseline of freedoms should be established and maintained (!). The Storage DB is the perfect place for this.

Let me talk a bit about our creative community. It's big. Our community has grown because of FOSS. I'm not saying this is the only factor, but still a factor. We have now hundreds of mods and other things released as FOSS. I'd say almost everything ever release here is free. Non-free things (i.e. creations released under copyright or under restrictive licenses) do exist, but they are a tiny minority here.
Many new modders have used the source code of existing mods for study. The mere existance of tons of code is a great way to get started. Code and artwork has been re-used, shared and modified freely to create new awesome things. Things which have been abandoned long ago have been picked up again. Forking was a common theme. And pretty much nobody was offended by this, no, this was encouraged. People collaborated where they wanted, some other people made stuff from scratch. The more “things” have been created and explicitly as free software, this has in turn motivated more modders to join in and release their own code under free licenses. It's like a network effect. In the end, everybody wins. This community is also one of the reasons why I have sticked around with you all for so long. Thank you to everyone who has contributed time and effort into anything Minetest and shared it freely, be it ideas, mods, artwork, writings, tools, worlds or just funny screenshots. :-)
And now our result is a large community with a vast library of things to use freely. I cannot stress enough how important this actually is for Minetest.

Now imagine how our community would look like if modders would have selfishly proclaimd, “No. This is MY mod and only I am allowed to use it and modifiy it and share it!”. Or if people would have tried to obfuscate their work so that nobody could replicate it. This MIGHT have been a possible course of action. If this would have happened, our community might have not seen such a growth and maybe would be in general more hostile and harder to navigate through. Minetest would be simply not the same. I am glad this is not my community.

Please note my proposal is actually not that groundbreaking or revolutionary. We already have a long-standing forum policy regarding mods which says “Any mod that disallows derivatives cannot be published on this forum. These include CC NoDerivs and pretty much any closed source licenses.”. It does not explicitly rule out some particular licenses generally considered to be non-free, but it also does not explicitly permit them. Now a few people have interpreted this policy that some non-free licenses are, in fact, okay. I don't know where this idea is coming from, but it does exist and is also the main reason why I am writing this lengthy post. It is not clear if this interpretation was even intended that way. Anyway, in practice, almost all creations are FOSS here, and there's already kind of an informal rule, if something non-free appears, eyebrows are generally raised, even if it is (seemingly) allowed under the forum policy.

Thus my proposal is simply to clarify that we, as a community, really mean it when we talk about FOSS, and that there are really no exceptions. The policy for Content DB should be “We accept only FOSS.”, and not something with exceptions or something vague.
Again, such a policy is NOT revolutionary, it's pretty standard in many other FOSS (and alike) communities. One popular example is Wikimedia. If my suggested policy is adopted, it would have little impact on existing mods, because almost all mods are already 100% FOSS.

Also remember the Content DB is an OFFICIAL project and will also be included in Minetest itself. Mods are an essential part of Minetest, this is not just something where policy doesn't matter. Minetest itself is free software with no exceptions or compromises. It just seems natural that the mods distributed through the OFFICIAL Content DB also be FOSS without exceptions.
It would be strange if Minetest itself is strictly free software but the Content DB is a weird chaotic mix of free and non-free software and other things.

But I also know there will always be a few people who disagree and still like to release things under non-free conditions. We should not and can not stop them from doing so, and we definitely do not control every mod ever written. But what we can do, is making it clear that we will not give OFFICIAL support or publicity for anything non-free, this includes hosting it on the Content DB. If anyone feels strongly about releasing proprietary things, we wouldn't stop them. But then they can not expect any official support or promotion from us. There's still the entire Internet open for publication.

The Content DB is not a place that should just be “anything goes”, as it will likely to be tightly coupled with Minetest. Getting your stuff in this Content DB should be a privilege, not a right. The way to gain this privilege is simply sticking to FOSS licensing.
Think about it like this way: You are yourself benefitting from a huge library of free creations by an awesome community. It's a huge gift to you, and the rest of the world. It only seems fair that you in turn treat the community the same way.

The Big Question
So what do you think about my proposal?
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Re: The Big Question

by Sires » Tue May 29, 2018 01:56

tmt(too much text) dr, but I agree about foss :) +1
Nothing to declare

For the ones reading this, expect a new minetest game soon ;-)

Also, Sires is not pronouncied like Siri, it's from Sir, use he not she(also not it, I'm not a thing :P).

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by v-rob » Tue May 29, 2018 03:34

+ ∞

Totally! This is definitely an important policy that should be adopted.

That was a really nice speech BTW.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Linuxdirk » Tue May 29, 2018 06:48

While FOSS in general should be the preferred way to go I absolutely understand why and if people do not release their software under a free license.

Nonetheless the sources should always be available. (Sources available != Open Source != FOSS)
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by rubenwardy » Tue May 29, 2018 21:06

celeron55 says that the contentdb will follow the same policy as the forums - any license is permitted as long as derivative versions are allowed.

I've added separate code and media license fields, and warnings to packages which feature non-free things.

The warning will say one of "Non-free code and media", "Non-free code", or "Non-free media."

Image

Image
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Tue May 29, 2018 22:51

celeron55 says that the contentdb will follow the same policy as the forums - any license is permitted as long as derivative versions are allowed.

I've added separate code and media license fields, and warnings to packages which feature non-free things.


That's not exactly what I meant with “FOSS-only” …

So it's just decided like that? No rationale, no justification and what the community has to say doesn't matter at all? That's not nice!

Also, why is celeron55 not saying that directly? Celeron55, please talk to us directly instead of using rubenwardy as a proxy. I'm dying to know the reasons that led to this decision.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by texmex » Tue May 29, 2018 23:25

I fully agree with the sentiment of pushing free licenses on Content DB.

As a contributor of the above mentioned texture pack I just want to state that it’s not my desire to put the NC restriction on the CC license but the original author’s. As much as I want to change that I’m not allowed. I realized that quite late and after countless hours of work added to it. I’ve contacted the author to no avail. Rejoice!

That said I’m not so convinced that rubenwardy’s solution with a big red sign is the way to go. Someone nerdy enough to tell the CC licenses apart by a quick glance knows NC is restrictive anyway and someone who doesn’t know about license terminology will think it’s some kind of commodity or a paywall.
Last edited by texmex on Wed Sep 19, 2018 22:47, edited 1 time in total.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Sires » Thu May 31, 2018 15:52

*shrug*
Just a random idea: Make a pool and PM as much ppl from the community and let them vote what they want:
non-FOSS Is acceptable for everything
non-FOSS Is acceptable for media
non-FOSS Isn't acceptable

Ya get my vote on the third option
Maybe it can convince some core-devs or whatever the term
Nothing to declare

For the ones reading this, expect a new minetest game soon ;-)

Also, Sires is not pronouncied like Siri, it's from Sir, use he not she(also not it, I'm not a thing :P).

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Thu May 31, 2018 21:45

Thanks for your support so far. :-)

So far, everyone in this thread is in favor, but apparently celeron55 isn't. Of course it's better to hear more voices. Celeron55, where are you? :-(

I intentionally did not add a poll here because I liked to have a discussion.

I think it's a better strategy to reach out in IRC and whatnot, instead of PM. If you get a PM, you're in the forums anyway. Also, this thread is still young, more replies will probably trickle in over time.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by rubenwardy » Thu May 31, 2018 22:03

I very much personally hate non-free code, especially with smaller projects such as mods, and my first thought is that it shouldn't be allowed. However I don't mind non-free art/media

The real question is if our personal preferences should be enforced on other people, and I don't think so. The sorting algorithm will penalise packages with non-free licenses (and along with packages without screenshot)
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by GreenDimond » Fri Jun 01, 2018 02:54

rubenwardy wrote:(and along with packages without screenshot)

This is by far the most important.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by TumeniNodes » Fri Jun 01, 2018 06:08

rubenwardy wrote:(and along with packages without screenshot)


rubenwardy is doomed...

I am undecided on this matter.
While I love FOSS software and media, I find it difficult to simply turn away, literally every and anything which the creator wishes to share yet, also wants to protect themselves from others making money from and/or claiming their work as their own. (this does happen)
And to be honest, if it really came down to it, being covered by a NC-like license, would fare better than just a "share alike/attribution license.

I have been in far too many similar discussions over the years to argue it anymore. It gets very tiresome.

All the shouting of "freedom" while denying people the freedom to choose the license they feel most comfortable with, even if they are actually sharing their work, but in a manner which gives them a bit more of a secure feeling.

One can choose a NC type license, and add specific stipulations to what they allow under that license. Even if it is to request that individuals contact them for consent to use the content in a commercial manner.

In the same breath though, I do dislike "no derivatives" licensing.

And, at the cost of chancing a lynch-mob at my door..., I do not have a big issue with proprietary software either...
Many ports of many wonderful software have gone belly up over the years due to "No proprietary extremists" thanks to the stigma of the righteous warriors among the Linux community.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:51

rubenwardy wrote:However I don't mind non-free art/media

First of all, what you use personally is none of my business. I do not judge you for your personal use of stuff, no matter if free or not.

But when you use it to justify Content DB policy, this is of course relevant to the discussion.

I never understood the distinction between “non-free code” and “non-free media” which some free software people do. Either a software is free, or it isn't. The separation is just arbitrary to me. I don't know where this strange idea is coming from, but it is there. In most cases, the media of a software is an essential part which you can't just drop. For games, this is even more true. If you remove all the media in a package, you usually end up with a broken game. It's a fallacy to assume that media is somehow less important or merely supplemental.
To me, a game with only free code but non-free media is not a free game at all. It's only an engine at best, but usually it's just code which does not even work on it's own.

Allowing non-free media on Content DB will just be counter-productive to our goals. It will just make it more difficult for creative people to copy, share, remix stuff. People have frequently used and re-used media from other free mods. I say the licensing for media is just as important as for code. If our community would have placed restrictions on media by default, it would have been pointlessly harder for newbies to kick off new mods, everything would be just more annoying to do, etc. There are so many benefits for having also free media by default. Please don't downplay this, thank you. :-)

I don't say that “code-only” releases have no value, but they should not be considered complete free games/mods/things and they also have no place in the Content DB, which is player-centered. It would make a lot more sense to host them as repositories, developer-centered, outside the Content DB system.

Also, the current forum policy by celeron55 does not treat media and code differently. I don't see why we should start now, it would be a big leap backwards.

The real question is if our personal preferences should be enforced on other people, and I don't think so.

No, this is not the real question. Sorry, I just cannot let this sentence stand on its own. It includes two underlying assumptions:

1) This is really all about our personal preferences
2) People would be forced to do something

Frankly, both of these assumptions are wrong.

First, saying this is about personal preferences is completely missing the point. If this were just about personal preference, there would be no need for this discussion in the first place. This is about principles. We have to ask ourselves, which kind of creators do we support? In my opinion, proprietary conditions are often (not always) done for selfish reasons. This simply does not fit into our community. While we cannot stop anyone from doing so, we can make it clear that we do not endorse such conditions.

Second, nobody will be forced to do anything. Nobody will be forced to post stuff on the Content DB, nobody will get banned, nobody loses the right to create anything they want. We can not and will not force anyone to release everything under free terms and this is also not the goal. But what we can do is to decide who to give a platform. The Content DB is kind of a big deal because it always carries an aura of “official endorsement” with it (it's embedded in Minetest itself, after all!). By allowing anything proprietary, we inevitably will be giving it a platform, advertise for it, endorse it, support it. This simply cannot be the goal of the Minetest community.

Note that anyone still has the freedom to release anything anywhere else in the Internet. Minetest will still continue to technically support proprietary software. Minetest just should not serve it to the user on a silver platter, this is wrong on so many levels! If anyone—for some reason—feels the need to install that one proprietary mod, they will still be perfectly able to do so.

Besides, the amount of things intentionally released as proprietary here is very small anyway, it's not like there is a real “demand”.

The sorting algorithm will penalise packages with non-free licenses

This sounds like a bad compromise. This still implies that proprietary things are still somewhat tolerated.
It is hypocritical to criticise or warn about proprietary things on the one hand, but still hosting and supporting them on the other hand. Talk to me about mixed signals …
The policy has to be consistent about our position with regards to free vs proprietary. If it isn't, it will be missing the point.

That's like saying “malware is bad, but we host it anyway. But at least we write down a warning!” ;-)

TumeniNodes wrote:I find it difficult to simply turn away, literally every and anything which the creator wishes to share yet, also wants to protect themselves from others making money from and/or claiming their work as their own. (this does happen)

What you use personally is your personal decision. I will not judge you for that. It's your own business.
Again, if the creator explicitly forbids sharing or usage for some kind, thats their decision, true. Sure, everyone is free to release as non-free. But this is simply not what our community is about.
I agree that for the sake of niceness, the author deserves some form of respect for the work. But this does not mean we have to submit to every wish ever made. Respect is not the same as submissiveness.
Also, more importantly, we have absolutely no moral obligation to host, promote and endorse anything. No author should have the right to force Content DB to host everything they ever made on the Content DB. I think this is quite reasonable. Not hosting something is not the same as taking away the freedom of the author.

My opinion is that not every wish of The Author is justified or reasonable or fair. Some wishes of The Author, like forbidding derivates, are unfair, and, while we do not stop this behaviour, we should not promote it.

Demanding credit is usually OK, however. It's not an unfair demand as it doesn't take away any essential freedoms.

And to be honest, if it really came down to it, being covered by a NC-like license, would fare better than just a "share alike/attribution license.

Well. The thing is, you can turn it around and twist it however you like: An NC (NonCommercial) clause is always a form of discrimination, plain and simple. Don't like money/capitalism? Fine (I don't either, btw), but NC is still a discrimination, like it or not. If you accept NC, you also have to accept that discriminating users is OK in general. Thus an NC clause is always incompatible with free software, so if one is freedom-minded, it must be rejected just like other unreasonable demands, like no derivates.

There's a reason why communities like Wikimedia Commons, OpenStreetMap and basically all Linux distributions ban NC. Those communities have worked very well over the years, they did not see any harm from this strict ban, quite the contrary.

NC is in violation of “freedom 0”, the freedom to use the software for whatever. In the same reason, we also wouldn't allow licenses which demand the software not be used by atheists, Christians, the enemy, for hacking, for “evil” purposes, by Donald Trump, Russian hackers, etc. Restricting any use of the software is a serious restriction which cuts deep into user freedom. Threrefore, NC is never acceptable in a free software or open source context.

As a side note, NC has a lot of technical design flaws which only gives the illusion of some freedom. The core issue being the definition of commercial use, which is so broad and vague it could be interpreted as anything, so the only safe way to use NC content as user is to treat it like default copyright. Recommending NC licensing to freedom-minded peope is terrible advice, and it does not become any better if you continue to repeat it. https://freedomdefined.org/Licenses/NC

Thankfully, people in our community have almost never used NC or other non-free clauses. It's like an unwritten rule around here, and it's great. Free licensing has served our community well for years. Just saying.

In the same breath though, I do dislike "no derivatives" licensing.

This is interesting. I wonder what makes this aspect different.

All the shouting of "freedom" while denying people the freedom to choose the license they feel most comfortable with, even if they are actually sharing their work, but in a manner which gives them a bit more of a secure feeling.

It's great if someone decides to share their work with the world. Of course I support that. But when the goal is to reach official promotion on Content DB, we simply should not accept everything, it would be totally missing the point.
Also, nobody's freedom will be denied. That is never the goal. It's about not giving proprietary things a platform and official promotion. This is a huge difference.

We are not The State and impose laws to force everyone to release everything ever made under free content licenses with full disclosure about everything. This is not what this proposal is about.

Freedom is not about feelings. Also, the vast majority of things posted here are already free software. Almost everyone in our community is fully behind this idea and proofs it by consistently posting more free things. Your fear of some authors feeling “insecure” is unjustified, there is nothing to fear. :-)
Think about it: In this community, you can feel quite secure because you find free software for basically everything and can be relatively free of fears of getting harassed by lawyers for copyright violation and worse. That's why I advocate so strongly for a strict free-only policy.

Even if it is to request that individuals contact them for consent to use the content in a commercial manner.

If you have to ask The Author every time for permission, that's basically just the same as full copyright. That's missing the point of licenses. Just say you insist on full copyright.

And, at the cost of chancing a lynch-mob at my door..., I do not have a big issue with proprietary software either...

What you use personally is your personal decision, and this is fine. I do not judge you for your own personal use of software.

Many ports of many wonderful software have gone belly up over the years due to "No proprietary extremists" thanks to the stigma of the righteous warriors among the Linux community.

[Citation needed]

Also, Minetest has obviously not gone “belly up” and I have no reason to believe this will happen anytime soon. Quite the contrary: Our community is strongly pro-free software and is growing.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by paramat » Sun Jun 03, 2018 22:41

> So it's just decided like that? No rationale, no justification and what the community has to say doesn't matter at all? That's not nice!

Well ... being in line with forum policy is obvious and makes a lot of sense, that is the rationale and justification. It's not as if we are going against the community since they are already subject to this approach in the forum.
c55 is busy and you can trust rubenwardy isn't lying about this.

> Thanks for your support so far. :-)
So far, everyone in this thread is in favor,

Erm, no, at that point in the thread 2 support, but 3 do not support your hardline suggestion even if they prefer FOSS.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 00:30

Well ... being in line with forum policy is obvious and makes a lot of sense,

Content DB is not the same as the forums. The Content DB is special because it will be directly part of Minetest, while the forums aren't. Deciding on the policy for Content DB is kind of a big deal, because every user will now be exposed to things, not just forum users. This should not be done lightly. Just copying the forum policy because we can seems thought-lazy.
Also, just because the forum policy is old does not make it a good policy for Content DB (or the forums). That's just an argument from tradition, a fallacy.

We also could just change forum policy alongside with Content DB policy if you meant that.

Besides, the current forum policy was never publicly justified, or was it?

Please also note that de facto we have kind of an unwritten rule that non-free anything is generally not much liked in these forums, even if they are technically “legal” under forum policy.

Erm, no, at that point in the thread 2 support, but 3 do not support your hardline suggestion even if they prefer FOSS.

Actually, it's 3 clear support at that point (Sires, v-rob, texmex) plus me. The “not support” people actually just made general comments, it's not clear to me if they are against the proposal. I was probably too overenthusiastic, sorry about that.
Anyway, please note this thread is first and foremost meant as discussion thread, not a poll. This discussion is far too young to count numbers anyway.

“hardline suggestion” ... heh. You are saying as if it were a bad thing. :-) Anyway, it's not that revolutionary. Is it really a big leap from “no ‘no derivates’ licenses” to “no non-FOSS licenses”, epsecially when a huge part of the community is de facto stricly FOSS already? I don't think so.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 00:51

So, let me take a different approach here: What benefit do we have if we specifically permit non-free things?

If we allow non-free things on Content DB, we gain very little. The non-free things we have published on the forums are a tiny minority and they were generally frowned upon by the community anyway. However, we promote those few non-free things anyway.

If we don't allow non-free things on Content DB, we make sure it stays free, we make it clear to everyone that we really mean it with freedom. Yes, we do ban a few non-free things because we don't want them. Also, it's a tiny minority right now, so it's really not even a sacrifice.

But even if it weren't a small number, I think it would be worth to be strict.



Additionally, I think the forum policy just sucks.
You seem to use the forum policy (FP) to justify a lot of things.

Frankly, I think the forum policy is really weak.
The only thing it specifically rules out are licenses with a “no derivates” clause.
Are other licenses forbidden, too? Maybe, maybe not, the terms are a bit vague. The point is they are not specifically forbidden.
But this covers only one of the four freedoms of free software.



Compare forum policy with the four freedoms of the Free Software Definition (https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en).
The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

This is not specifically forbidden under forum policy (FP). For instance, all CC licenses with NC clause. And obviously unfair licenses which forbid you to even use the thing if you belong to a particular group of people. E.g. if you live in a country the Author doesn't like, or anything else which violates freedom 0.

The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

This is the only freedom which is unacceptable under FP to be restricted.

The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).

Both of these CAN be restricted under FP as well.
Interesting is freedom 3. A license which allows you to make derivates, but does not allow you to share these derivates, is apparently FINE under FP! This is absurd!


The minimum amount of freedom you get under FP-licensed software is that you can't disallow derivate works.
What you CAN disallow is using the software, sharing copies of the software, sharing changes of your modifications, basically really essential things.

Don't like the Free Software Definition? Well, what about open source? Let's look at the Open Source Definition (OSD) (https://opensource.org/osd):
1. Free Redistribution

Not mentioned at all under Forum Policy (FP). A license which restricts free redistribution is perfectly fine.

2. Source Code

The guidelines do not mention at all that the source code must be available in readable form. Someone might attempt to make the source code dilberately unreadable by using some obfuscator or worse. This would violate point 2 of OSD, but is fine under FP.

3. Derived Works

This is the only (!) point which the FP specifically demands.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

7. Distribution of License

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

None of these criteria are required in FP. Discrimnation, vendor lock-in, restrictions of other software, technology-unneutrality are these are acceptable clauses under FP.

So, as you see, if we use forum policy as a basis, you accept quite a lot of restrictive licenses. I wonder why. Why would we want this?

So: The forum policy is full of holes, leaves room to speculation. This is not a good policy!

So it's clearly not a good template for Content DB.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by TumeniNodes » Sat Jun 09, 2018 01:59

Overall, the entire discussion over licensing is "complex" for lack of a better word.

Freedom is great, until it decides it should be able to deny "some" freedoms. Such as the freedom to choose which license one wishes to release their work under.

And while you can say you are not denying anyone that freedom, as long as they do not choose a license, which is denied on the forum. It becomes a hypocritical type of freedom, and chances/can cost, losing or even scaring off some very talented and/or skilled people.

No community benefits from extremism, or extremists.

Let me give you a heads up. Stallman, while he has done some very good things, is an extremist.
He feels everything should be open and free, no matter what.
His philosophy is "Freedom his way..., or the highway"

As far as licensing for the code/media which goes directly into MT and MTG, the reason a decision is/was made to only allow code under the license chosen, is so that there will not be unforseen problems in the future, if someone decides to leave the project, and all their contributing code, is under such a license which could literally bring an end to the project from a legal standpoint.
That was/is an executive decision. And it is the sort of decision which any entity has a right to decide, in the interest of their project/s

Now, on the other hand..., if a community member chooses to share some code/media they have created, there can be some flexibility, for the reason that..., it will have zero impact on the well being of the core project, itself.
How that code/media does in the community will be determined on how other community members feel about it.

Someone may create some amazing mod, or incredible looking TP..., and license it under NC (or whatever) with some added options to forego certain parts of their license, as long as someone communicates with the creator first and accepts their decision/terms.

Using "freedom" under any terms, to suppress other freedoms is just silly, and hypocritical.

This is just my own opinion. And in no way stated in a hot-headed or tense fashion.
Open discussions are great, as long as everyone gets to state their own opinion, and not be made an example of for it.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 05:56

Freedom is great, until it decides it should be able to deny "some" freedoms. Such as the freedom to choose which license one wishes to release their work under.

I have a really big problem if the term “freedom” to include the freedom to oppress other people. You know what this kind of “freedom” is also called? Power.
You imply that the freedom to release something under whatever license is essential, but this also includes unjust licenses. This is a problem. Here's why:
In order for authors the freedom to release their work under ANY license, you inevitably have to take away freedom from the users. Your entire philosophy of freedom falls apart.

Also, refusing to host and promote certain things for any reason whatsoever is NOT equivalent to taking away someone's freedom. Just host it yourself.

But okay … Assuming my proposal is completely wrong. Then what kind of policy WOULD be acceptable?

And while you can say you are not denying anyone that freedom, as long as they do not choose a license, which is denied on the forum. It becomes a hypocritical type of freedom, and chances/can cost, losing or even scaring off some very talented and/or skilled people.

That's also not true. Forum policy is only valid for Mod Releases, it has no effect anywhere else. Also I have pointed out in my earlier post, the forum policy is actually pretty weak and allows many types of non-free licenses.

No community benefits from extremism, or extremists.

Bullshit! An extremist viewpoint is not neccessarily a bad or wrong one.

Let's take your argument for slavery: On the spectrum of pro and against slavery, a moderate position would be that some forms of slavery are okay, as long you treat your slaves well. Only the most extreme position completely rejects slavery, but since it is an extreme position it must be wrong. Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right … I hope you get my point.

His philosophy is "Freedom his way..., or the highway"

And he has every right to do so! He doesn't force anyone to do anything. Frankly, what RMS or anyone else does with their life is none of your business.

Now, on the other hand..., if a community member chooses to share some code/media they have created, there can be some flexibility, for the reason that..., it will have zero impact on the well being of the core project, itself.
How that code/media does in the community will be determined on how other community members feel about it.

That's missing the point. The core project does not matter in this context.
What matters is that the freedoms are essential to anyone else in the community who wants to participate. If we can guarantee that everything in Content DB is free software, it makes things much, much easier and safer for everyone.
My idea is, free sharing, playful hacking, discussion without restriction should be the norm. It's the lifeblood of our community.

Minetest exists because people felt there is something wrong with the idea of permission society, the world of copyright lawyers, etc. If you love proprietary so much, well, guess what? Minecraft is readily available to you! ;-)

Minetest is just a tiny island of freedom in an ocean of proprietary things. At least we could all try our best to make sure it is at least a free island. If not even this tiny island can stand for freedom then what will?

Someone may create some amazing mod, or incredible looking TP..., and license it under NC (or whatever) with some added options to forego certain parts of their license, as long as someone communicates with the creator first and accepts their decision/terms.

It's sad if great artists want to deny others freedom and do not share the idea of a commons in which works are shared freely, but instead want to dictate conditions. It's sad, but does this obligate us to support, promote and host their work as equally valid as artists who actually respect freedom? I don't think so.
Art is a big field, I strongly believe it is critically important to convince more people with artistic skills to join our cause.

This is another reason why I am pushing this strict FOSS-only policy. If the Content DB is strictly FOSS-only, it would be harder to justify unjust conditions. Free software would (at least in Minetest) be the norm, at least formally so. I strongly believe this is the way things should be.

Nowadays, as a person in the free software movement, you have to constantly defend and justify yourself, are called crazy or extreme (in a negative sense) by all sorts of people. This is because freedom is such a foreign concept in a world which is absolutely dominated by proprietary, so it seems alien to many. Proprietary is the default and is rarely seen as strange, odd or unjust, but is seen as the norm. I hope to see one day where the roles would be reversed, where freedom is the norm, and proprietary is seen as odd or crazy and has to constantly defend and justify itself.

Using "freedom" under any terms, to suppress other freedoms is just silly, and hypocritical.

No, it isn't. There is one “freedom” which must be rejected, and that is the freedom to deny the freedom of others.
The irony in your sentence is that it is you who defends unjust demands in licenses, it is you who believes there is absolutely no problem in denying people something very essential and human such as sharing. Don't you see that?

This is just my own opinion. And in no way stated in a hot-headed or tense fashion.
Open discussions are great, as long as everyone gets to state their own opinion, and not be made an example of for it.

I agree, but that doesn't make you immune to criticism. ;-)
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by celeron55 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 09:06

LOL this is getting out of hand!

You heard from me via rubenwardy not because I'm using him as a puppet but because he just happened to ask me on IRC. Anyway...

Forum Policy is pretty much "open source" when it comes to these issues, even while it doesn't say it. It was written a long time ago, before any of this mattered much.

My rationale for license policy is to have the minimum restriction in choosing a license that still enables community members to in practice continue improving on each other's work and distributing the work back to the community.

Whether NC stops that is arguable to pretty much no end.

Whether ND in media (ND = freeware, basically) stops that is actually kind of arguable also. As long as you can redistribute media, things tend to be fine, as the pieces are separate (possibly arguable actually) and extensions to them can be made from scratch not being burdened by the license of original media. With code, you tend to get stuck with the original license.

Most other things aren't arguable, as to improve on each other's work, you do need to have human readable source, be allowed to redistribute a derivative version (of the code at least) and whatnot.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Wuzzy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:25

Hello, celeron55! Nice to have you here. :-)

You heard from me via rubenwardy not because I'm using him as a puppet but because he just happened to ask me on IRC.

Oops. OK, that explains it.

Forum Policy is pretty much "open source" when it comes to these issues, even while it doesn't say it. It was written a long time ago, before any of this mattered much.

Well, the thing is, rubenwardy has been using forum policy to justify accepting NC and other non-free clauses. Rubenwardy is also forum policy to justify policy for Content DB, which is what this thread is actually about. Rubenwardy basically just wants to copy it. This is what I criticize.

Note that neither NC nor ND are open source by definition. Forum policy actually only matches 1 out of 10 criteria from open source in explicit terms, so it's hardly about open source … Let it be 3/10 criteria if you add “free redistribution” and “source code”. That's still a far cry.

Anyway, seems like forum policy is just being too vague. It's not good if you have to guess. The fact is, the ONLY thing it EXPLICITLY rules out are “no derivates”, everything else seems fine, even if you didn't mean it.

My rationale for license policy is to have the minimum restriction in choosing a license that still enables community members to in practice continue improving on each other's work and distributing the work back to the community.

I'm not blaming you for your decisions you made years ago. You couldn't possibly have anticipated the growth of this community.

But now, in practice, this community is dominated by free software, people almost never felt the need to add any unacceptable restrictions. This is pretty awesome if you ask me!
When you have written the text, you might have thought there would be a “demand” for these things. It turns out there's almost zero demand for additional “choice” of restrictive licenses. There's basically an unwritten rule here to avoid these terms, even if not explicitly written down. Seems like forum policy is a little at odds with how the community actually works.
So I think going full all the way open source / free software would be an easy step to make. Besides, Minetest would finally join the ranks of Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Wikimedia Commons, OCAL, and the like for which STRICT free-only policy has worked out very well. My proposal is not some crazy experiment, it has been tried and tested!

Note this thread is about Content DB, NOT about forum policy. Content DB will be like a million times more important than the forum policy, and I simply don't think it's a good idea to just copy forum policy for Content DB, that's just lazy. The Forum policy only came up because rubenwardy is using it as justification for allowing non-free things.

The reason why Content DB policy DOES matter is because Minetest is useless without mods and games, Content DB will be deeply integrated into Minetest so insisting on libre licensing matters much here.
For some GNU/Linux distributions, using a weak policy will mean that they have to stop consider Minetest an acceptable software package because it would recommend and make trivially accessible non-free stuff (mods are an essential part of Minetest). Their options are to either patch Minetest, or remove it, or even fork it. All of these suck.

Finally we should definitely not have a vague policy on Content DB, there should be no way for someone to just weasel out of responsibility (I hope we can at least agree on that!).
Saying something like “Things posted here must be free software or open source according to the FSF/OSI definition.” and then some links would be enough, I guess. Both definitions are pretty clear on what they mean already.

Whether NC stops that is arguable to pretty much no end.

Is it? For me, it's actually quite simple. It's a form of discrimination, thus unacceptable. Many free software / free culture communities have banned NC. Note that NC is extremely harsh about its anti-commercialism. E.g. post NC content on webpage with only one banner or even just affiliate link = VIOLATION! YouTube monetization is also out of question, obviously. NC rarely hurts the huge rich evil corporations (they likely don't care), it's people like you and me. No matter whether you like capitalism or not (hint: I don't), most people must earn money, it's not they have a real choice, so it's unfair to demand to not try that.

Whether ND in media (ND = freeware, basically) stops that is actually kind of arguable also. As long as you can redistribute media, things tend to be fine, as the pieces are separate (possibly arguable actually) and extensions to them can be made from scratch not being burdened by the license of original media.

No, no, no, no, NO! No.
This line of thinking just leads us to a community in which everyone has to re-invent the wheel for legal reasons. Forbidding unrestricted remixing goes against everything this community stands for. And yes, this also includes media, of course. Why should media get special treatment? In games, media is essential, you can't just drop it. Let's not go down that rabbit hole. I'd say this point is most definitely NOT arguable.

Most other things aren't arguable, as to improve on each other's work, you do need to have human readable source, be allowed to redistribute a derivative version (of the code at least) and whatnot.

Thanks for clarifying that.
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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by rubenwardy » Sat Jun 09, 2018 14:25

ContentDB uses the forum policy, I'm not attempting to justify or push my views on anything. Ultimately celeron55 can tell me what the policy should be and I'll implement that

I will personally be keeping any future "allow non-free packages" setting firmly off as I do not want to use software which I cannot fix or fork
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by twoelk » Mon Jun 11, 2018 16:03

consider these two use cases I describe here:
viewtopic.php?p=321418#p321418
so although non of the basic minetest downloads include "nc" content it might give access to such through the Content DB which might be easily understood as officially promoted content and as thus part of the official minetest family.

I don't think a message with every link to "nc" content that states something along the lines of:

"If you are running this software in an environment that might generate money either directly or in any indirect or abstract way please do not download or use these mods"

is really the thing I would want minetest to be forced to do.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by celeron55 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 18:57

I do think it would not hurt to start the content db with the FSF/OSI limitation.

Everyone likely understands that it is the safest thing to do, allowing us to be spared of extra issues on top of any technical and other ones we'll have anyway.

This can then be opened as a question again when things have been going otherwise smoothly.

I'd say in any case it probably should default to not listing things outside of that definition just for the sake of sparing license-unaware users of any issues that might pop up. Issues will pop up with NC/ND content from time to time even if it's just a video taken of the thing.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by celeron55 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 20:54

That being said, we haven't had any issues with the forum related to this, with its policy.
 

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Re: Proposal: Content DB should only accept FOSS

by Brian Gaucher » Sun Jul 01, 2018 00:37

In my viewpoint. (I will support whatever is agreed upon). Any license which allows someone else to continue the project if they stop.
Not allowed
ND (No-deriative) : I think this should [i]not[\i] be allowed, as it prevents people from modifying it.

Allowed
CC0 (anything goes): No problem here.
NC (non-commercial) : I think this should be allowed, after all Minetest isn't commercial. This does have the side-effect of making lots of "fake-minecraft" (modified minetest) further illegal, if they charge for this content.

Probably Allowed
SA (share alike) : This should be allowed since it doesn't prevent people from modifying it, it just prevents them from changing the license.
BY (attribution) : This could be allowed, if some people want to be attributed. But [i]how[\i] they want to be attributed should be clearly stated.
 

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