Re: Bruce's rhetoric
Dear Mr. Thompson!
On Fri, Nov 14, 1997 at 08:42:51AM +0600, Paul J Thompson wrote:
> > There are also several (well, I know of 2, but we aren't as vocal)
> > maintainers that would have liked debian to be *more* free (i.e.,
> > put more restrictions on the allowed licences). For example, the Debian
> > Free Sofware Guidelines currently allow packages that don't allow
> > modified source to be distributed (as long as we can distribute patches).
> > There has never been a vote about that, but I suspect several maintainers
> > disagree with Debian's (and Bruce's) stance in this respect.
> Actually, if non-free were renamed to non-dfsg then I would alo be in favor of
> tightening the curtain little on the main distribution. My real problem with
> this all is that by saying non-free and meaning non-dfsg, we are redefining a
> term (most people in the world think of non-free to mean simply something for
> which you don't have to pay). Lets be more specific then non-free.
We all know the dfsg. It is pretty clear to us what it means and where it
comes from. If someone who is not introduced sees the non-dfsg, he can't
speak it out, can't understand it, can't decipher it. Do you really want
You will have to explain him what dfsg means. And then you have to explain
him the meaning of free anyway, because dfsg means debians FREE software
guide. You only want to obfuscate this.
Actually, you need some lessons in free software history. The term "free" in
conjunction with software was introduced by, guess it, Richard Stallman
(RMS). So, I think, "free" has a traditional interpretation in the software
community, and I get really sick if some authors say that their software is
free, and in the next sentence you have to send them a postcard, can't use
it on other systems, or not for commercial use.
Please look in your /usr/lib/emacs/*/etc/ directory. There is a file named
WHY-FREE in it. It says:
"This is why we say that free software is a matter of freedom, not
The document is from 1994. You see, that money is involved is pretty
pointless for free software. Important is the right to modify the source,
non-free is very specific. The spirit of the dfsg is very similar to all the
free licenses out there, GPL, BSD, Artistic, what-so-ever. So dfsg is not
redefining a term. It is explaining a common term, explaining in the sense
and spirit of its originator.
The people that think of non-free as priceless simply are, how many they may
be, wrong. They just didn't got the idea of free software.
"Rhubarb is no Egyptian god."
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