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Re: How to reratify the DFSG ?

On Thu, 28 May 1998, Ian Jackson - Debian Project Leader wrote:

> I'd like the opinions of the developers regarding a conflict of
> interest I think I have.
> We need to ratify the DFSG according to the soon-to-be-inplace
> constitutional mechanism.
> However, I personally have at least one outstanding issue with the
> DFSG that I'd like to see changed - the `patches only' exception in
> para.4.  There are also a number of other issues that need to be

For me, this is one of the strengths of this document. It recognizes the
copyright of the author. That is all that it is intended to do. If we
relax this rule, and try to apply the author's copyright to the modified
code we are going to get into legal trouble. The author's copyright does
not apply to this new modified code, and the state of the collection of
files to which it is trying to be applied is not clear.

With a diff and the author's original text, it is crystal clear what the
copyright applies to.

It has been my understanding that there are also good technical reasons
for keeping the author's original code separate from downstream changes.

> resolved.  In particular, the status of standards and documentation in
> general needs to be sorted out.
Stuff deleted...

> At the other end of the scale, I could delegate the whole job of
> ratifying the DFSG to someone who strongly agrees with the current
> meaning and wording and place myself in the position of a developer.
> However, I'm not necessarily convinced that this would make it easy
> enough to get even essential and uncontroversial wording changes
> through.
> So, what do people thing ?
I would suggest that it would be easier to simply ratify the document we
have been working under for a year, before we begin discusing changes to
the document.

While there have been some contentious arguements over interpretation of
this document, it has served us well over the past year, and with careful
treatement should continue to serve us well.

On the other hand, we, as a group, need to make this document "belong" to
Debian. If simple ratification will not do that, then maybe it needs a
re-write. While there are issues I would like addressed better in the
document, I find it a fine "working document" for the purposes it is
intended to serve.

Waiting is,

_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide"  _-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (850) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
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