[jitsi-dev] Is Jitsi free?


#1

Hello,

This message is an attempt to resume this discussion [1].

Is Jitsi free (as in free speech)?
Which components are free / non-free / have unknown conditions?
What should be done to build a free version of Jitsi?

Cheers

[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=627362


#2

Hello,

This message is an attempt to resume this discussion [1].

Is Jitsi free (as in free speech)?

Yes.

(Not sure how you got to this question from the above discussion though)

Which components are free / non-free / have unknown conditions?

We are currently working on documenting all our dependencies as part of
an effort to create a source debian package and get it in the Debian repos.

What should be done to build a free version of Jitsi?

Download the source. Run "ant make".

There is no non-free version of Jitsi.

Cheers,
Emil

P.S. If interested in debian packaging please report with the
appropriate subject.

···

On 02.08.12, 10:24, Stayvoid wrote:

Cheers

[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=627362


#3

One `freedom' issue is the codec support

People have a right to use SILK or G.729 if they want to

But Debian will not even accept a source package that contains such
patented algorithms, even if the build flags are set not to compile such
parts of the code

On the other hand, people have a right to use such algorithms if they
are exercising their right to `study' the algorithm (in many countries,
patent law does give people such rights)

A lot of VoIP projects get stuck on the same issue: I believe the way to
deal with this is to offload all the codecs into a third party library.
Then

a) the main Jitsi code base would be more free and acceptable to Debian

b) Jitsi could distribute the proprietary codecs as a separate binary
package that installs easy to use `plugins'.

My proposal for such a library API has been languishing for a while
though, no code is written yet:

  http://www.unifiedcodec.org/

The main point is, the API/module loader code is BSD licensed and
permissible in Debian. All GNU and BSD type code can link to it. The
licensing of the modules becomes irrelevant, because modules only get
loaded by the end user, and the GPL doesn't prevent the user doing stuff
with patented code: it only applies to distribution of such code.

···

On 02/08/12 17:24, Stayvoid wrote:

Hello,

This message is an attempt to resume this discussion [1].

Is Jitsi free (as in free speech)?
Which components are free / non-free / have unknown conditions?
What should be done to build a free version of Jitsi?

Cheers

[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=627362


#4

Different people have different definitions of free

The loose definition of free is that Skype is `free' - you can download
it and use it without paying any money.

Jitsi is a lot more free - you are free to look at the source code and
change it.

Hopefully nobody monitors you when you use Jitsi - so it is more
politically free than Skype too.

Debian has an even higher standard of `free' - the Debian Free Software
Guidelines:

  http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

The way that Debian interprets these guidelines is deliberately pedantic

For example, "Free Redistribution" is the first guideline. Someone who
wants to distribute the SILK codec has to register their details with
the holder of the patent - a `free' online registration (link below).
But this is not 100% free, because even the rule that says "you must
register yourself as a distributor of this code" is a violation of the
guideline.

  http://developer.skype.com/silk/license

Furthermore, the Jitsi source package can't even include the SILK code -
it is not sufficient to just make it optional in build.xml

With reSIProcate, I split the tarball, the main tarball can go in
Debian's catalog, the contrib tarball does not go in Debian:

  http://www.resiprocate.org/ReSIProcate_1.8_Release

I well and truly believe Jitsi can emulate these techniques to reach the
Debian standard of freedom - it just means a little more work on the dev
team, and I think everyone understands how busy they are already making
a great product.

···

On 02/08/12 17:55, Emil Ivov wrote:

There is no non-free version of Jitsi.


#5

Daniel Pocock:

But Debian will not even accept a source package that contains such
patented algorithms, even if the build flags are set not to compile
such parts of the code

"Debian will not knowingly distribute software encumbered by patents;
Debian contributors should not package or distribute software they know
to infringe a patent."
http://www.debian.org/legal/patent.en.html

  http://www.unifiedcodec.org/

The main point is, the API/module loader code is BSD licensed and
permissible in Debian. All GNU and BSD type code can link to it. The
licensing of the modules becomes irrelevant, because modules only get
loaded by the end user, and the GPL doesn't prevent the user doing
stuff with patented code: it only applies to distribution of such
code.

Are you a lawyer? Is that legal advise?

Anyway:

- Jitsi is LGPLv3, not "GPL"

- I do not see how either the "GPL" or LGPLv3 are relevant in this
context regarding Jitsi. Jitsi does not contain any code which is only
available under a proprietary license. The only (potential) problem
regarding Jitsi and Debian is code which is (or might be) "encumbered by
patents".

Cheers,
Andreas


#6

Hey Daniel,

There is no non-free version of Jitsi.

Different people have different definitions of free

The loose definition of free is that Skype is `free' - you can download
it and use it without paying any money.

Jitsi is a lot more free - you are free to look at the source code and
change it.

Hopefully nobody monitors you when you use Jitsi - so it is more
politically free than Skype too.

Debian has an even higher standard of `free' - the Debian Free Software
Guidelines:

  http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

The way that Debian interprets these guidelines is deliberately pedantic

For example, "Free Redistribution" is the first guideline. Someone who
wants to distribute the SILK codec has to register their details with
the holder of the patent - a `free' online registration (link below).
But this is not 100% free, because even the rule that says "you must
register yourself as a distributor of this code" is a violation of the
guideline.

  http://developer.skype.com/silk/license

Furthermore, the Jitsi source package can't even include the SILK code -
it is not sufficient to just make it optional in build.xml

With reSIProcate, I split the tarball, the main tarball can go in
Debian's catalog, the contrib tarball does not go in Debian:

  http://www.resiprocate.org/ReSIProcate_1.8_Release

I well and truly believe Jitsi can emulate these techniques to reach the
Debian standard of freedom -

I've already mentioned this on a couple of occasions but here goes
again. We are currently working on a debian source package with the
intention of integrating it in the Debian repos. The technique above
is exactly what we are planning for h.264, we had forgotten about SILK
but we'll do the same there.

it just means a little more work on the dev
team, and I think everyone understands how busy they are already making
a great product.

Thanks for the kind words! It does take quite some effort but we have
already started working on this and will see it through. We intend to
make our first submission by the end of August :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Emil
.

···

On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 3:51 AM, Daniel Pocock <daniel@pocock.com.au> wrote:

On 02/08/12 17:55, Emil Ivov wrote:


#7

It's a bit like saying if I sell my car to someone, and three years
later the car is used in a bank robbery, am I responsible? Of course not.

It's not a question of legal advice - as professional software
engineers, we should all have some basic familiarity with these subjects
without calling a lawyer every time someone mentions the word patent.

The point made by unifiedcodec.org is that the end user can do whatever
he likes with his machine: if may well be exercising his right to study
the patented algorithms, as permitted by law.

Despite some scare-mongering from those who profit from the sale of
G.729 modules, the GPL is not incompatible with such use cases: in fact,
the GPL exists to give the user the freedom to modify his machine in any
way he pleases.

···

On 04/08/12 09:32, Andreas Kuckartz wrote:

  http://www.unifiedcodec.org/

The main point is, the API/module loader code is BSD licensed and
permissible in Debian. All GNU and BSD type code can link to it. The
licensing of the modules becomes irrelevant, because modules only get
loaded by the end user, and the GPL doesn't prevent the user doing
stuff with patented code: it only applies to distribution of such
code.

Are you a lawyer? Is that legal advise?


#8

IMO, it's better to ask the FSF [1] if you're in doubt.

[1] http://www.fsf.org/about/contact/email