Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 11)

If things go OK, I will be to Cairo during April 11 and 12, talking about the Persian language/Iranian experience with electronic/online content (including Unicode, blogs, etc). All depends on the Egyptian "Interests Office" being working during Iranian holidays or not.

I have received lots of feedback about Fedora's EULA vs GPL, which is leaving me very confused. Basically, I'm starting to believe that the complications are in the US sanctions/restrictons themselves, and not necessarily in the way they interact with GPL. More to come after I read all the feedback I got, but the more I read, the more I believe I was right in the assumption that Fedora's EULA has serious problems.

I am just back to work after three and a half days out of office, during Iranian New Year holidays, which will be March 18-April 2 this year (yes, sixteen long days). Not all of those days are holidays officially, but all business practically goes to a halt during the time, and many people take a leave during the days that are not official holidays. This time, March 20 (occuring on our Esfand 30, the leap day) was called an officialy holiday by the government, so, considering that Fridays are holidays in Iran and there are also Islamic holidays, the only official business days during that period are March 26-30.

Some people claim that Iran has the world record in the number of official holidays. I don't have the number for other countries, but in Iran:

  • Every Friday is a holiday.
  • Every Thursday is half closed (banks, government offices, and many businesses are only open until the noon or are totally closed, etc).
  • There are ten solar holidays.
  • There are fifteen lunar holidays, each occuring once in every 355 days or so.
  • Sometimes but not often, a single day with a holiday on each side gets declared a holiday.

So, yes, today is the first day in the Persian Year 1384, and nobody but me is breathing in the whole building.

It's been a long time since I am struggling with this question: "Isn't Fedora Core's EULA a violation of GPL?"

Quoting just an example from the EULA:

By downloading, installing or using the Software, User agrees to the terms of this agreement.[...]

5. EXPORT CONTROL. As required by U.S. law, User represents and warrants that it: [...] (c) will not export, re-export, or transfer the Software to any prohibited destination, entity, or individual without the necessary export license(s) or authorizations(s) from the U.S. Government; [...]

Isn't this in contradiction with section 6 of the GPL that says:

[...] You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. [...]

If it is really a requirement of US law for Red Hat to bind the user with those requirements, doesn't section 7 of the GPL restrict Red Hat not to publish the software?

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all.[...]

If you are the author of any GPL-ed piece of software included in Fedora Core, I would appreciate it very much to know your opinion (I am roozbeh@farsiweb.info). This is a clear GPL violation to me.

I was planning to contact FSF about this. Any better recommendation?

17 Mar 2005 (updated 17 Mar 2005 at 14:41 UTC) »
Dave: I confess that I got trapped in the "IP" thing. But I still can't consider EU committed enough.

BTW, I really hope the company can pay for GUADEC. I'm not sure we can pay both the salaries and the ticket costs while Samsung Iran is suggesting barter, Shell Iran is still discussing with their Dutch lawyers about legal implications of them using an Iranian distro instead of the Red Hat 9 they use now, and we are losing government contracts we are most eligible to because of people thinking Open Source is the same as public domain.

That's the main reason we haven't yet bothered with asking for invitation letters.

I consider it rather sad to see Dave write something like "the EU's committment to free software". The question is: which EU? The commission or the parliament or the people or whom?

Antonio Ognio has helped me with a hackergotchi, which seems to show the scruffy hacker side of me (which I usually try to hide) so well. It also somehow shows the dirty Middle Eastern side, which Nat emphasized in Kristiansand. Elnaz says it shows the real me so much.

So, thanks a lot guy!

Hmmm... It seems that I can't post it in advogato. (Anybody knows a hack?) Well, I can only post a link.

Had a meeting with Samsung Iran people today, it seems that they are interested to make all of the hardware they market in Iran Linux-compatible. The main reasons are the US sanctions against the use of certain US technologies in Iran, and that Iran has not signed any of the international copyright treaties and conventions.

This means that the user will not want to pay the Microsoft tax for their laptops (because they can legally get a copy of Windows for two US dollars from the market), and they may not be able to provide genuine Windows licenses legally (as considered in the US/international context) anyway.

Ah, there's also that some agencies in the Iranian government are pushing for national adaption of Linux as the "National Operating System" (!).

So they are getting interested in Linux, and they want us to certify their products for compatibility with "Persian Linux" (whatever that means). Basically, we are going to get one free sample of every computer-related Samsung product sold in Iran and the full cooperation of their Korean engineers to develop drivers, if needed.

Unfortunately, it seems that not much cash is involved. We may either need to pay the employees with second hand color laser printers, or get involoved in heavy bartering with the university people, giving them monitors for lunch cards or something. Such goes business in Iran!

The first CLDR meeting I attended after almost a month just finished, with the international call provider dropping me out for no apparent reason and refusing to accept my PIN because it thought the other connection is still live. I hate it!

Anyway, I find it very sad that the only free software user of CLDR is OpenOffice (and ICU of course, but it's somehow the same thing, since it's not used in anything but OpenOffice in any normal Linux distro). CLDR is really the only properly peer-reviewed database of locale info, also with peer-reviewed localization of some very important things, like language, country, and timezone names.

And it tells you everything that glibc can't, like one-letter abbreviations for days and months, which Evolution could use, or different lengths of date and time display, which clock applets could use. It also doesn't have the problems people like Danilo have with glibc, Ulrich not accepting the new Serbian locales and being totally irresponsive about the reasons. glibc is currently probably the worst burden in starting a new localization project.

Currently, IBM, Sun, and Apple, the main three players in CLDR, are using the information for their shipping products. IBM uses it in ICU, which is supposed to become the platform providing Unicode and i18n to all their products, Apple has been using the data since Mac OS 10.2 (possibly through ICU), and Sun is using it in OpenOffice. There are also a few random committee members like me (representing High Council of Informatics of Iran) and representatives from Ireland and Finland national standard bodies.

Their main problem: the committee work is so slow that they can't release early and often, so projects with a shorter release cycle probably need to branch for minor version numbers every once in a while if they decide to use CLDR. Other possible problems may be it being in XML and having both sideways and directorywise hierarchical inheritence (which would make it hard to parse at first), and then having borrowed parts of ICU syntax in the fine print, which would need you to either borrow lots of code from ICU or implement logic to parse ugly syntax like "0≤Rf|1≤Ru|1<Re" or "# ##0.00 ¤".

15 Mar 2005 (updated 15 Mar 2005 at 17:52 UTC) »

Well, there seems to exist something called Planet GNOME Korea. Perhaps they don't know about the cool world map, are not interested in geographical arithmetics, or simply don't read Planet GNOME proper!

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