[Mailman-Users] GMane?

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Thu Feb 16 12:21:13 CET 2006

At 3:56 PM +0900 2006-02-16, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

>  For what it's worth, although I don't use Gmane and consider their
>  operation to be irresponsible, I'm moderately in favor of allowing
>  them to gateway the Mailman lists for the convenience it apparently
>  affords many users.

	I'm of two minds when it comes to Gmane.

	On the one hand, they take our content, store a copy locally, 
index that local content, and then make that available to their user 
base.  Clearly, there is a benefit here to the Gmane users, 
potentially even a commercial benefit.  But what do they contribute 
back to the larger Mailman community?  I don't see anything -- they 
take and take and take, and they give to their own private community, 
but I don't see them giving anything back to us.

	On the other hand, I understand that there are some people in 
this community who like to use Gmane, and I would not be generally 
opposed to them being able to read our content and participate in our 
discussions through a news gateway solution.  And Gmane has a news 
gateway solution.  But the problem is that it is out of our control, 
and I have personal experience in the kind of spewage that can occur 
when these sorts of things go haywire.  Okay, maybe it's a private 
news spool so these kinds of spewage are less likely, but I still 
don't know enough about their internal operations to help guarantee 
that these sorts of things don't happen to us.

	Given our past history with Gmane and the fact that they take our 
content without our permission, and that they've supposedly fixed 
this procedural problem and yet they did it again, I believe that we 
have good reason to distrust them.

	Personally, all code I write gets published under a BSD-style 
license.  And all the slides I create for all the invited talks I do 
at various conferences, gets published under a Creative Commons 2.0 
Non-commercial/share-alike license.  So, I don't mind too much if 
someone takes my own personal content and makes that available 
somewhere else -- but they had better not be making a profit on doing 

	However, I am extremely uncomfortable with taking the content 
created by an entire community and then leeching off that.  Taking 
the content of a single person is one thing, taking the content of an 
entire community is quite something else.

	Yet, I find myself holding back.  I want to like Gmane.  I get 
their concept, and I understand the benefit to their members.  I 
would like to be able to allow them to continue gatewaying these 

	If they were to actually operate by the rules they espouse, and 
they were to provide some sort of benefit back to the communities 
whose content they are taking, I would support their gateway service.

	But we know they're not operating by those rules, and I don't see 
their benefit back to the larger Mailman community.

	Unless I'm missing something pretty big, I don't see a way out of 
this situation with a positive outcome for Gmane.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

  LOPSA member since December 2005.  See <http://www.lopsa.org/>.

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