John Goerzen filed a bug on Okular for arbitrarily enforcing DRM in PDF files. Much hilarity resulted.

This incident makes me angry. I am now going to blow off some steam.

  1. I fully agree with John on the core issue: Okular should not restrict its users regardless of what PDF authors and the PDF say.
  2. If Okular upstream disagrees, Debian should patch its version. Especially so since it is a one-word patch.
  3. The feature is a copy restriction, but it is not DRM. Calling it DRM is clearly a bug and only serves to advance the agenda of the copyright mafia.
  4. Making it easy to disable is nice. Requiring the user to realize it can be turned off, and having to navigate to the settings dialog to do it, is not onerous, but it is user-unfriendly.
  5. It is claimed (without references) that some corporations require the feature for nebulous legal reasons. They don't seem to require it with xpdf or evince, though. If they do require it, the corporations should change things to suit them. Serving the supposed interests of unidentified corporations over the actual, stated needs of prominent users is simply wrong. It's so mind-bogglingly, hideously opposite of anything sensible that it is clear it's not a real reason.
  6. I claim, based on their behavior in the discussion, that the real reason Okular upstream and Debian KDE maintainers still oppose changing the default is that this became a battle of egos and they don't want to lose face by giving in now.

The last point is what annoys me most: that we, in Debian, still dig trenches so deep we can't see the other side, that we twist the entire world to protect our egos. Clearly, John shares some blame: his initial bug report was needlessly aggressive, but that doesn't excuse everyone else.

Including myself, for writing this blog entry. I have no excuse.