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Re: Non-free, Contrib and CDs (Was Re: GNU Win32? Not anymore.)

From: Bill Mitchell <mitchell@mozcom.com>
> My concern centers more around the "non-free" name than anywhere else.
> As I understand it from the Debian Policy Manual, "non-free" means,
> in this usage, something like "not freely redistributable".

"Non-free" means that the license does not conform to the "Debian Free
Software Guidelines" which we published recently. If there is another usage
in Christian's draft version of the manual at
http://fatman.mathematik.tu-muenchen.de/~schwarz/debian-policy/draft/ ,
please tell him and he'll fix it.

"Contrib" means the package complies with the free software guidlines
except that source is not available, or it is in some way not desirable
to put the package in the release.

> I think the categories above essentially break the current "non-free"
> area ("non-free" as defined in the Debian Policy Manual, that is),
> up into two areas:  No-Profit and No-Sell.  How about lumping them
> back together again, and renaming them something like 
> "Restricted-Distribution", to avoid the confusion over the two
> different usages of the term "non-free"?

Well, we call them both "non-free" now, and non-free includes various kinds
of restricted distribution or restricted use.

Regarding the interpretation of licenses, we have to interpret whether
a license fits in our guidelines, and then if it goes in contrib or
non-free. I do not think it would be a good idea for us to interpret
licenses any further. For example, if we start saying "this is OK for
you to use but not for you to distribute", we are really giving more
unqualified legal advice than I see as the role of the project. People
who want to use the programs in non-free for their businesses should
read the licenses and provide their own interpretations. Thats why the
licenses are there.


Bruce Perens K6BP   bruce@pixar.com   510-215-3502
Finger bruce@master.debian.org for PGP public key.
PGP fingerprint = 88 6A 15 D0 65 D4 A3 A6  1F 89 6A 76 95 24 87 B3 

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