Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL
On Tue, Jul 13, 2004 at 09:24:36PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> The upstream who wants to use the QPL to prevent forking fails to
> understand the license he's placed his software under. That's entirely
> not our problem. Patch clauses make it harder to engage in certain
> activities but don't usually prevent them - they're by and large good
> enough. Accepting this limitation but being much harsher on others gives
> an impression of inconsistency. "Oh, we accept that stuff by historical
> accident, even if something similarly onerous in another field would be
> non-free" is just not a good argument. We should be consistently harsh
> across the field.
It places a massive burden on the fundamental "certain activities" of code
reuse and forking. I wasn't around during the drafting of the DFSG, so I'm
not entirely sure why DFSG#4's patch exception exists, though I've heard
suggestions of TeX and Qmail (the latter of which is non-free anyway).
Certainly it wasn't inserted by accident, but I simply don't accept that,
because of DFSG#4, we should also allow other similarly onerous burdens
on free software, or that code reuse isn't actually a critical aspect of
(It's true that many licenses do place restrictions on code reuse--the GPL
preventing it with incompatibly-licensed software--but patch clauses are
the only free restrictions I'm aware of which make it so difficult to reuse
code in another project which is under the same license.)
As for consistency, I believe it's DFSG#4 that's inconsistent with the rest
of the DFSG, not our interpretation of the rest. (We probably disagree here.)
> >It represents the right to make private modifications. I should be able to
> >change a program, send it to a friend, and agree with him not to further
> >distribute it, without being forced to send it to a third party.
> Hrngh. Yes. But why? Which part of the DFSG implies this? I can see that
> it would be nice to have that requirement, but is it necessary?
(punting to my later response about DFSG interpretation)