Package Maintainers Flags policy

Tom "spot" Callaway tcallawa at
Mon May 18 17:17:23 UTC 2009

On 05/18/2009 11:53 AM, Andrea Musuruane wrote:

> May I kindly ask what is the reason behind this decision? Or, even
> better, can someone update the above wiki page explaining the reason?

As the person who drafted the flags policy, let me try to explain the

In January, Roozbeh Pournader posted to fedora-legal-list where he said
the following:

	I recently found that Deluge is using country flags to indicate the
	location of bittorrent peers. Flags are cute and nice of course (and a
	mental exercise), but are geopolitical hot spots.

	Upstream didn't like the concern, calling some people (including me?)
	"crazy ideologists". But the Fedora maintainer (Peter Gordon) fixed
	the bug in Rawhide (but we're still shipping flags in F9 and F10):

	But this is not why I'm writing. I'm writing because during the
	report, I found that we really don't have any official policy on
	flags. All I found in the wiki was what I had written myself a while
	ago, here, which is just based on my own experience as an i18n guy:

	But we really need a policy. And I thought this list is the best forum
	to get it into shape. The history is like this: With RHL 8.0, Red Hat
	decided to remove the Taiwan/Republic of China flag from KDE because
	of sensitivities/legal requirements of mainland/People's Rebublic of
	China. That created some public unease, including people stopping to
	use RHL because of that. Red Hat went a bit further of course, and
	removed all national flags in a later version.

He raised some specific concerns, it is worth reading his original email:

At the time, the only policy in place was the informal, unwritten, no
flags policy that we inherited from Red Hat Linux. I consulted with Red
Hat Legal to codify that into a more formal policy for Fedora to use.

Red Hat Legal felt that there was minimal legal risk to including flags,
although, by having them, it may prevent Fedora from being
available/acceptable in some countries (China being a notable example).

Based on his original request (and his repeated reminders), I drafted
this policy and submitted it to FESCo for review. I did not tell FESCo
that they had to pass this for legal reasons (those sorts of things I'm
empowered to simply implement), nor did Red Hat require this. If FESCo
decides that they are not concerned about the possible geopolitical
controversy or possible international restrictions, there's no skin off
my back. I just drafted it upon the request of Fedora Community members.

Tom "spot" Callaway, Fedora Legal

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