New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

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New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Wuzzy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 00:39

Hi!
After long discussions and (so far) unsuccessful attempts to ban proprietary software in Minetest, I have come to a different approach.

First, since non-free mods are allowed (namely, licenses that violate freedom 0), that effectively means that free software and proprietary software are mixed in Mod/Game Releases.

This is bad. Non-free things should never be mixed with free things. We should not give people the impression that we treat proprietary things as equally valid as free things.
But currently, under the policies we have is that some proprietary things are treated equally well as free things. This just feels wrong.

The rules should be designed in a way that it should be made very obvious that they are NOT the preferred option. The user interfaces should also draw a CLEAR distinction between free and non-free. The user should never have the impression that we treat proprietary things as equally valid.

The big underlying idea behind this proposal is “freedom by default”.

So, this thing is more like a collection of suggestions regarding on how we treat non-free things in this community. It's not set in stone.

But now for the actual list:

------------------------------------------------
BEGIN OF SUGGESTION

First, here are two rules I propose to be added for the forum policy:

- Each non-free mod/game must have the tag “[nonfree]” in its title, after the first tag. This rule shall apply retroactively
- Free submissions are given priority for approval (move thread into Releases). Non-free things will not be approved before a waiting period of 1 month after the request was posted

Example for non-free title:

[Mod] [nonfree] Mod of the Devil [6.6.6] [muhaha]


For the Content DB, I propose the following design changes:
- Non-free things are not visible in lists by default, unless the user explicitly enables it
- Non-free things are listed lower than all free mods in Content DB
- Non-free things will never be displayed on the front page, highlighted, advertised or otherwise promoted in any way
- Non-free things don't have a screenshot visible in the list of things, just the name. The screenshot is only visible when viewing the full page
- Same approval waiting time applies as for forum policy above
- Display a warning if a modder is about to submit a non-free mod. Educate them briefly about potential (undesired) consequences
- Remove the option for “other” licenses
- Remove GPLv2.1, this license does not exist!
- Add GPLv2

END OF SUGGESTION

------------------------

RATIONALES:
This post is a huge compromise. I have failed in convincing people to ban all proprietary software. So this is a different approach. It still kinda allows non-free, but free is now given a clear preferential treatment.
The nonfree tag is just an idea to allow easy filtering by web services like Krock's Mod Search.
The filtering of non-free by default is to protect users from accidentally installing non-free. Especially in a project like Minetest which prides itself on the values of freedom it is a dangerous trap in clicking through the Content DB, assuming that everything here is free.
The idea I want to push here is “freedom by default”. If we had not such an option, users would also always have to check the license first because any mod might be non-free. This can be seriously frustrating for a community which is supposed to be all-free.

Some of the ideas are … yes … “punishments”. If you really want non-free, it should sting a bit. That's by design. :-) You can count yourself lucky we are hosting your non-free thing in the first place, and that even fully free of charge, mind you.

The rest is basically just informational and clearer visual separation.

The “Other” option for licenses in Content DB is a really bad idea, this just encourages license proliferation which we should absolutey avoid. We have just too freaking many licenses! New licenses should only be added to the drop-down list after a MANUAL request + approval of that license. Another problem is that it demands from the submitter to rate whether their “other” license is free or non-free, but only few people are license nerds so people would classify their license wrongly.

So. All of this is open to debate. Some of my points might be very controversial while others I believe are very uncontroversial. If you have your own comments about policy regaring on how we treat non-free, please do post them. :-)

----------------

Final note: I would still prefer it more if all proprietary software is not permitted in Mod/Game Releases in the first place, and not just some selected forms of proprietary software. I have NOT given up this fight either. I have explained the reasons for this in great length elsewhere, but to summarize, my main reason is that non-free is not simply not benefitial to our community.
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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Shara » Wed Jul 25, 2018 07:57

Free submissions are given priority for approval (move thread into Releases). Non-free things will not be approved before a waiting period of 1 month after the request was posted


On this alone it's a huge no.

I'm the one currently handling move requests. Before I stepped up to do this they were getting left for a month or more in many cases. If I'm told I have to change how I handle these by leaving requests for correctly formatted topics there for x amount of time, I'll stop doing them. In this case all requests, including ones for totally free mods, will be back to waiting times of over a month.

- Each non-free mod/game must have the tag “[nonfree]” in its title, after the first tag. This rule shall apply retroactively


Though I don't necessarily object to such a tag, it would need to be "non-free license" or similar so that people know in what way it is non-free. The big issue is... who goes through all previous mod/game/texture pack topics to do this?
 

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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by paramat » Sat Jul 28, 2018 04:03

> Non-free things should never be mixed with free things.

We're not hiding the license to delude people into thinking they are identical. If the licenses are visible things won't be equal.

> We should not give people the impression that we treat proprietary things as equally valid as free things.

I don't think we do, the license will show what is 'non free' (by a certain definition) and we will all have personal opinions accordingly. Allowing a variety doesn't mean we consider them equally valid, many of us won't already, such as yourself.

> Free submissions are given priority for approval (move thread into Releases). Non-free things will not be approved before a waiting period of 1 month after the request was posted.

This is LOL.

> Content DB

Even more LOL.

MT has allowed certain licenses on principle long term, this is highly unlikely to change as you've probably found out. As long as certain licenses are allowed we can't be too militant about suppressing certain content, because if we were that concerned about such content it wouldn't be allowed in the first place.

> it is a dangerous trap in clicking through the Content DB, assuming that everything here is free.

We don't give the impression everything is 'free' (by a certain definition). The assumption is a mistake.

> If we had not such an option, users would also always have to check the license first because any mod might be non-free

Checking the license first is a good idea anyway, and those concerned will already do so.

> for a community which is supposed to be all-free.

We're not supposed to be 'all-free' (by a certain definition).
 

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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by LMD » Sun Aug 12, 2018 19:43

You are aiming at blaming "nonfree" applications, though nonfree is completely okay.
Why won't you allow other's to go their ways ? I am myself a supporter of free licenses, but it's fine if people - who already do a great job by contributing mods or games for no reward - for free - just chose a license that makes sure nobody touches their work. Blaming them and forcing them to chose free licenses can definetely NOT be the right way.

Their are enough arguments, and some discussions concering such licenses on MT Forum.
Apparently there are people who support such licenses.

I don't see any improvements, except for the fact that the 1 % of modders that would use such license will be disappointed and turn away.

That would DECREASE amount of published games/mods.

Is that really what you want ?

People spend (tons of) their time to be able provide high-quality entertainment, are seeking and finding their community here and you are trying to use those circumstances to force them to chose free licenses, cuz - they've got no choice - seeking for honor and players - else their work was for nothing...

You said nonfree stuff should be hidden by default.
Very bad idea.
Why not show the player all he can get, why hide something ? Most gamers don't publish a tweaked version anyhow ;)

So for all these people even the most restrictive license for OSS, personal use, would suit.

Why, just why ?
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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Festus1965 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 03:56

Would be nice if i see faster free or non-free, as want to use only free one,
and get rid of clones also. Go on with it, yes.
 

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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Chiantos » Mon Aug 13, 2018 07:45

Hello,

Make it free or proprietary as a license. nothing prohibits commercial use. Except for use of the CC NC or if in the case of a proprietary license that does not have the rights of the author to do so. The ooen and free licenses do not prevent a product to be paid, it just requires in general to share the source of sources and sources of changes in the code (GPL) and the media (CC By Sa), forgetting not to mention the authors.

The free prevents the control of a code by a society or individual who would like to prevent the sharing of a code or a media. Thus, it is more in a vision of sharing for those who would like to respect an original work, while allowing to create his own to distribute its modifications, allow bug fixes by all. see improvements and even allow the survival of the code, if the core team abandons his project.

In the case of nonfree, a code is often dead or prevents others from using it in their projects.
I do not think that the selfishness of the not free is compatible with the notion of sharing the free.

And even if the supporters of the not free, adore often say that the quality of free is bad or late.

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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Wuzzy » Mon Aug 13, 2018 09:51

MT has allowed certain licenses on principle long term, this is highly unlikely to change as you've probably found out. As long as certain licenses are allowed we can't be too militant about suppressing certain content, because if we were that concerned about such content it wouldn't be allowed in the first place.

I am dying to know what this principle was. I really am. For instance, why is it so important to be able restrict the freedom to use a thing for any purpose (including commercially) and still be given exposure here?
I also don't understand why this policy is set in stone. We only have a very few non-free things here (thankfully!).


@LMD:
Because the “freedom” to choose a license you want always comes at a price: In order to guarantee the “freedom” of a single person to choose a restrictive license means you have to sacrifice the artistic freedom of an entire community. I think this is just a huge price to pay.
I am also opposed philosophically: Why is it morally justified, that a single person should be allowed to dictate the rest of the world what to do with a certain work of art, and that for their entire lifetime plus many decades after that?
I think the artistic freedom is a very essential freedom, it is not good to sacrifice that. Historically, communities which restricted artistic freedom like that generally had less artistic output than those which didn't.
The core ideology of copyright (and by extension, licenses) is that it promotes art and motivates people to be creative. This idea falls apart under scrutinty.

A community open to sharing (like ours) can not co-exist with people who insist on their legal right to sue us for copyright infrincement because someone changed the color of a pixel somewhere.

Also, as you are a proponent of no-derivates licenses, too, just imagine everything here would be under no-derivs licensing. It would be quite a sad place, wouldn't it?
I view the choice of license for one's work here not so much as a matter of personal choice but more a matter of respect to the community. If someone insists on non-free, I just don't think the work should be promoted here.

Blaming them and forcing them to chose free licenses can definetely NOT be the right way.

Nobody will be forced. You will just not given prime time exposure for free here. There's the rest of the Internet waiting for you.

I don't see any improvements, except for the fact that the 1 % of modders that would use such license will be disappointed and turn away.


We are just a small island of freedom in a giant ocean of proprietary software. I see no gain in promoting more proprietary software on this island.
If we are not critical about non-free licensing, more people might believe it's a completely acceptable choice, not bad in any way (as the community doesn't condemn it), then more people might follow and the percentage of free might decline. This would be really bad.

Dear readers, I also like to bring to your attention that LMD themselves currently wants to release something under a no-derivs license here. Just to make clear where LMD is coming from.

You said nonfree stuff should be hidden by default.
Very bad idea.

This was a compromise. I don't think it's a very bad idea. The idea here is to send a very clear message to those who insist on their legal right to restrict artistic freedom.

If non-free can't be banned, it should at least be punished somehow. If we treat it as equal, this just sends a very wrong message in my opinion.

Yes, some of my suggested measures were extreme, (paramat laughed at me, and I admit some suggests ARE extreme), but I am open to discussion. The bigger point I was going to make is that we should at least not treat nonfree things as equally valid as the free things.

See. The bigger picture is that it's not good if we start to pretend that it's a perfectly normal and completely acceptable to release nonfree stuff here and even give it the same exposure for free. Paramat, you say that Content DB already does this to some degree, but I think some changes to the GUI could still be made. Maybe I'll write more about that later.

Finally, let me restate that other communities had a strict free-only policy for years and survived just fine. Like Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap.
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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Wuzzy » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:57

These suggestions should be uncontroversial:

- Allow users to filter out non-free in Content DB
- Add distinction between free/non-free (license) in Minetest (because currently there is no distinction at all!)
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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by LMD » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:44

Hmmm, it's hard to say what non-free means...
- Allow users to filter out non-free in Content DB
No.
Instead :
Allow users to filter out non-free by license in Content DB.
- Add distinction between free/non-free (license) in Minetest (because currently there is no distinction at all!)
No, too.
Users already HAVE to specify a license when posting a mod. Therefore, just look at that license instead of forcing users/moderators to lengthen topic names, like : [MOD][GPLv3].
However, you are free to tag your topics as you wish too, eg its completely fine if you tag your topics with a free tag, like [FREE][MOD]hudbars by Wuzzy[...].

I noticed that you (always ?) use free licenses.

Also, I'd like to correct you : I do not plan to release sth under a nonfree license. I think you messed us (LMD and KGM) up a bit.
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Re: New license policy: Treat free and non-free differently

by Wuzzy » Fri Aug 17, 2018 14:15

Because the distinction of free vs non-free is more important and easier to understand than the concrete license? If you want to have a license filter, fine, it just adds another layer of complexity, however.

Non-free is easy to define: Any license which is not free by the definition of the Free Software Definition. Or the Open Source Definition, I don't care. Both FSF and OSI have a list of approved licenses, so you don't have to do this assessment unless you have a really obscure license (which you shouldn't use anyway). So if a license is approved by either organization it's OK.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compariso ... #Approvals

I do not want to have extra tags to all topics, this would be clutter. Just to the non-free ones (i.e. the tiny minority). It's kind of a warning sign. Since non-free is a tiny minority, having a few non-free things will always be a surprise, so I think this is justified. It's not the end of the world if this is rejected, however.

Oops about messing up LMD vs KGM. Three letter user names. LOL. I need to be more careful next time.
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