[sane-devel] License pop-up

Olaf Meeuwissen paddy-hack at member.fsf.org
Tue Sep 17 22:28:24 BST 2019

Hi Ralph,

Ralph Little writes:

> Hi,
> Regarding my previous posting on this, I found the original, at times
> heated, discussion at Debian:
> https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=132679

Read it, as well as the follow-up on your original mail until I replied.
The bug report ended over a decade ago.  Things likely have changed but
I think the warning about possible hardware damage still holds, although
to a somewhat lesser extent than in the (distant) past.

> Oliver actual took part in that discussion and expressed his preference
> that the click-through license remain.
> However, they decided to remove it in Debian.
> I'm not sure that I am in a position to decide on this regarding whether
> or not to apply the patch and remove it for all.
> Oliver had some very specific reasons for leaving it in.
> If anyone would like to weigh in on this issue, then I would be happy to
> listen to arguments.

Based on the info in the Debian bug report, I get the impression that
the XSane author (i.e. Oliver Rauch) was concerned about "covering his
ass", mostly in case someone's hardware would break due to using XSane.
If that were to happen, the real cause would extremely likely be in the
backend that made the hardware do things to begin with.  Hence, either
sane-backends or some third-party backend would be to blame.
# Or perhaps different interpretations of the SANE API documentation.

No matter who's to "blame", Oliver, while still the author of (almost)
all the code, is no longer maintaining XSane.  The SANE Project has
taken over (with Oliver's "blessing") and now continues the maintenance
of XSane.  As such, I think we are at liberty to make some changes in
this area.

I would

 - not make users accept the GPL (because they don't have to in the
   first place), but instead make the GPL (version 2) available via an
   "About" dialog, either in full or via a link.

 - replace any kind of "NO WARRANTY" click-through with a warning about
   the unlikely possibility of damaging users' hardware.
   # Untested and newly added devices are somewhat more prone to damage
   # than devices that have been supported for a long time.
   The warning should be shown at program start-up until the user opts
   out of this behaviour.  This should not be a system-wide opt-out.  It
   should be a *per user* opt-out.
   The warning could include a link to the full license terms.
   The opt-out could be reset when a newer backend version is detected
   (as newer backend might introduce breakage).  In this case, it should
   be made clear what caused the need to opt out again.

> For me, I'm happy to leave it as-is for the moment.

# I got the impression that the source code situation and the Debian
# binaries now display different things.  What I suggested above is
# based on what I think should be in XSane's source code.

Hope this helps,
Olaf Meeuwissen, LPIC-2            FSF Associate Member since 2004-01-27
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